Monday, August 12, 2013

Unforbidden City and Summer Palace on the Lake

We started out fresh and ready to see the sights of Beijing this morning. Here is Crystal in front of Mao's tomb. It wasn't open today, but we got to see the rest of Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. That is one large complex! Appropriate that a country with such a large population would also have a big place to gather!

Amanda took a joyful, but quick pose in as we got ready to enter the Forbidden City, now, as it is no longer forbidden, known as the Palace Museum.

Our tour guide, Johnny, gave us the highlights, stopping occasionally to explain how the royal family lived during the Ming and Qing dynasties.

We got to rest our "barking dogs" (feet) when we took a rickshaw drive through a hutong just before lunch. I wondered how long ago we would have had to visit China to experience rickshaws pulled by runners. This is the old historic area of Beijing. The buildings are protected against development, and give you a glimpse of Peking (as it was then called) 100 years ago.

 We had a delicious seven course lunch at a home in the hutong area. The cook was amazed when they realized we had eaten everything except for a few grains of rice that we just couldn't get in our mouths with the chopsticks!

We spent the afternoon at the summer palace. It was a lovely location at a higher location, and with a nice breeze blowing off the lake, it was just enough to cook us off! If I were an empress, I too would take the court there for the summer!

We had a long walk down the long corridor, and Ed and Amanda even climbed to the top or the Buddha temple! We took the brightly painted dragon boat back across the lake to return to our starting point.

We had just enough time to go rest for an hour and a half before we left for the Kung Fu Show. It was an interesting show, during which we unfortunately had several seats with a badly obstructed view. We later moved to the balcony, which had a fine view, but no air conditioning! One of our favorite stunts were the boy doing forward flip overs using his head instead of his hands to flip himself over! They also had some impressive aerial action with the young monk and his fairy princess friend!  

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