October 20, 2013 – Beijing – Part 2
After leaving The Forbidden City, we headed to Tiananmen Square, where Mao Zedong proclaimed the Peoples Republic of China in 1949 and where citizen protests against the Cultural Revolution were put down by the military in 1976, although they probably led to the reforms that have spurred China’s economic growth.
This huge public square contains Mao’s mausoleum, where thousands line up daily to pass by his body, encased in crystal in the mausoleum.
At the other end of the square is a building from the emperor’s time, draped with a portrait of Chairman Mao.
For special holidays, the square is decorated – here with a giant flower display, from the recently finished holiday October 1.
A member of the People’s Liberation Army guarding Mao’s mausoleum.
Leaving Tienanmen Square we headed toward the hotel to check in. Along the way we passed this Buick dealership – we had noticed the absence of Japanese cars in Shanghai and the same is true in Beijing. The Chinese still hold serious grudges toward the Japanese which date back to WWII, when they were treated quite cruelly by their occupiers, and forced into slavery throughout the Japanese Empire. There are a few Toyotas, but many more Volkswagens, Audis (the favorite car of Party officials) and Buicks, plus a few Mercedes.
We checked into our hotel which was the Marriott City Wall – strangely enough located right next to the still standing Beijing city wall. The hotel was first class by any standard, but for some strange reason had a giant picture window between the bedroom and the bathroom???? Fortunately, it had closable Venetian blinds.
We had a short time to freshen up before dinner, which I would have loved to skip and go right to bed, but we trooped on to our bus for the trip to the famous Peking Dusk restaurant. Sally was quite excited for the duck dinner – me a little apprehensive.
I survived my second family style Chinese dinner, this one with Peking Duck – I don’t think Sally was that impressed either.
Back to the hotel for a much appreciated good night’s sleep.