Anthony's Interesting Times 2004 travel blog

Give us back the fruits of our labours, you Imperialist pig-dogs!

A corner of one of the myriad courtyards in the Forbidden City,...

Roofs of the Forbidden City

Very small number of tourists

Nice colours or what! (still in the Forbidden City)

Typical small courtyard in the Forbidden Palace

Thankfully the last of the Forbidden City!

Lovely litle tea garden in Beihai Park next to the Forbidden City...

All the best kung-fu films have round doorways in them (Beihai Park...

White Jade Islet Beihai Park

White Jade Islet and Coal Hill behind

Hall of Praying for Good Harvests, Temple of Heaven, Beijing

Some blue and green as well this time (next to the harvest...

My first full day in Beijing, with the emphasis on full! My body thought it was tea-time at 2 am this morning (it was!), so I was wide awake and hungry (big bag of emergency peanuts sorted that out).

Up early to avoid the crowds. Tube to Tiananmen Square, which probably would be huge if Mao's Mausoleum wasn't slap bang in the middle. Some rather good sculptures though, of brave peasants on their way to kick ass, etc...great facial expressions, very stirring stuff. The real problem was the terrible smog which was marring both my view and my photos. I have resisted the urge to buy Mao paraphernalia so far, though the kids want some. As someone pointed out, you wouldn't buy a Hitler T-shirt, and Mao was every bit as bad.

I spent the morning in the Palace Museum, aka the Forbidden Place, fairly succesfully avoiding the worst of the crowds. Needless to say it is very big indeed, and even though half of it seemed to be under repairs, there was still a lot. Just under 10,000 'rooms', though they interpret the concept of room very liberally. Still very big either way. Loads of marble and red and gold paint, and lots of palaces, each for thinking about different things on different days in. The Imperial Garden was my favourite though, lovely.

And then up Coal Hill behind it. The smog not good for pics, and it was very sweltering again by this time, but a nice breeze and nice views, including the park where I was yesterday. So afterwards off to the nearby park (Beihai) to see other bits and get lunch. Quite some time wandering around there, and then whipped off in a taxi (very cheap, but usually stuck in traffic) to Tiantan park to see the Temple of Heaven, etc.

Doing well here, until a tropical thunderstorm. Suprisingly enough I got very wet. This got even worse when I was trying to get a taxi home. Taxis were all full of wet Chinese in the first place, and I was competing for the remaining few with a lot of very unscrupulous Chinese people. After getting even wetter for a while, I decided to at least walk to a subway line, which turned out to be quite good fun as I bought lots of DVDs on the way, between 50 and 80p each, though I couldn't get a copy of the recently released and wonderful Warriors of Heaven and Hell with subtitles. Also much entertainment for the homeless when I slipped and fell down the subway steps in a spectacular fashion you normally have to pay to see Chinese acrobats do.

And then even more fun in an internet place with Chinese people and Chinese software, so I could get my photos small enough to upload in less than an hour each. What a palaver! And I'm so glad I have some Mandarin. But mission accomplished as you can see. And fortunately I have subsequently discovered I can do this on my camera anyway!

Entry Rating:     Why ratings?
Please Rate:  
Thank you for voting!
Share |