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October 20, 2013 – Beijing, China – Part 1 – The Forbidden City

October 20, 2013 – Beijing, China – Part 1 – The Forbidden City

We packed for 4 days and left the ship on the morning of the 20th, meeting our guide Dennis Wang (Wang Xu), who would be with us the next 4 days, on the pier.  Dennis proved to be as much a highlight of the trip as the sites we saw – providing a wealth of information about China and life in modern China.  He spoke flawless English, had a lively sense of humor, and exhibited great patience dealing with a challenging group of passengers.

This is Dennis at the Great Wall, fingering his ever present worry beads, and watching over his flock.

beijingman

Dennis herded us through security and immigration, got our boarding passes, and we boarded a China Southern Air Bus 333 for the 2 hour flight to Beijing.  Just like an American flight, with the exception of somewhat regimented procedures, more flight attendants, an in flight movie on the glorious creation of the Peoples Republic in 1949, and a somewhat strange in flight snack.

Upon landing we boarded our bus and travel to a restaurant to enjoy (?) the first of many Chinese meals served family style.  This is going to be tough on someone who hates Chinese food.

chinesefood

The restaurant was attached to a factory which produced and sold Cloisonné vases, bracelets, etc.  This is a process of enameling on top of brass materials.

Sally did NOT buy this vase, as it was priced a little over $75,000.

momvase

After lunch we headed to The Forbidden City, which housed the Emperors of the Ming and Qing (pronounced Ching) dynasties, from the 1300s to the early 1900s.  It is a massive complex, lying at the within concentric circle walls in Beijing – from the outer wall, to the inner wall, to Imperial wall, to Forbidden City at the center.  It is very well preserved and is under a continuing restoration program.

The front (outermost) portion of the City contains courtyards and buildings where large gatherings might be held.

parentsforbidden

forbidden

The next group of buildings included those where the Emperor conducted “business” and met with his ministers.

emporerbusiness

As we moved further into the complex we reached the “private” area where the Emperor lived, with his family and concubines (up to 3000 of them).  No males, other than the Emperor and eunuchs were allowed in this area.

privatearea

Tibetan Monks at the Forbidden City.

monks

 

Other random pictures from the Forbidden City.

roof

river

bigpot

temple

Next, on to Tiananmen Square, the hotel and dinner.

Ok – some of Dennis’ Chinese humor.

A giant panda goes into a bar & grill, orders a meal, eats it, shoots the bartender, and leaves.  When the police catch him they ask why he did it?  He says, look in the encyclopedia under “panda”.

When they look it up it says, “eats shoots and leaves”.

Groan.

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