Beijing and the Forbidden City.
Feb 3, 2018
|We did not wake until late. Can't possibly understand why. But we had to change rooms, as the air conditioning was not working in the room, and we had to share a double bed! Got moved, and then decided to head out. We did get a good breakfast at the hostel first though. Really good menu at the Leo Hostel, and fast service!
Before we headed out, we booked for a show tonight, and had to be back at 6pm, to be driven to the Story of Kung Fu. We thought we would have plenty of time, but it turned out not to be so easy!! But more of that later!!
We walked up to Tiannanmen Square, with the Forbidden City being our goal. There was security everywhere, and it took ages to get through, needing to remove bags, and have them scanned at every stop. But, hey, this is Beijing. Actually it just might have something to do with the fact that Theresa May is visiting currently!
We saw the changing of the guard at the central flag pole. All very polished, and dignified. There seemed to be servicemen from all three armed services.
Then we headed for another underpass, to get over the main road that runs past the Forbidden City, and we were nearly there.
It was, to us, bitterly cold, but we were pretty well rugged up! There did not seem to be the crowds I would have expected, which was a blessing! We were somewhat overwhelmed by the whole place, and did not end up seeing very much of it at all. But we were happy with what we did!
We found a museum of clocks and watches, and spent a lot of time in there, simply amazed at the array of very old clocks, many from the 1700's. Most of the oldest ones were British made. And then there were other countries after that, with China following on pretty soon afterward.
We had planned to see more of the Forbidden City, but by the time we were out from all the clocks it was well after four o'clock, and we decided to head back to the hostel.
What a mission that turned out to be. We could not go out the gate we entered by, and had to go another way, which was much longer. Then we got hit by security checks, with long queues. And we could not go over Tiannanmen Square, for some reason. It is usually crowded at around this time, for the lowering of the flag. Perhaps someone very important is doing the flag lowering today. So we had to plod on and on, until we could find a way to head back towards the hostel.
By the time we got back, it was already 5.55, and we were to leave at 6pm. So, no time for food, or anything else, before we were taken up to the main road, to be collected in a car, to go to the theatre. We had two other Australians travel with us. They were from Melbourne and had been in South Korea before heading to Beijing.
It seemed quite a long way to the Red Theatre, but the driver knew where he was going. We have to try and get back to the hostel by taxi, after the show!!
The show was fantastic. It was the story of a young boy being taken to the monks to learn to be a real man, through the study of Kung-fu. He did well, before being led astray by life's temptations, but of course eventually he pushed beyond the temptations of the material world and became a true hero. A champion of strength and truth.
Getting a taxi back to the hostel proved to be a little challenging, but did not take very long before we found a driver who would use his meter for us. It was not that expensive to get back, although we did have to walk up the one-way street. That was OK, would have cost a lot more if he had driven all the way around.
When we got back, the first thing we did was order food. It was not all that late, but we were definitely ready for food. I had a potato, egg and bacon salad, that was very tasty. Carol ordered a plate of chips, and only managed to eat about a third of them. The plate was huge, and loaded a mile high.
We had made a potential booking for a tour to the Great Wall tomorrow, and when we checked at reception it was definitely going ahead. We would be collected at 7am from the street outside the hostel. Yet another early start for me. You would think I would be getting used to it by now, but it still hurts!!