The (not so) Forbidden City

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We were so ready. We had rented a van. We were all rested up. We had picked out our warmest clothes. We had gotten our snacks packed. We were going to the Great Wall.

The next morning we woke up to a massive wind storm. The Great Wall is on top of the mountains…I don’t know about you, but it blowing off the Great wall doesn’t sound so fun to me. Huh.

We weren’t going to the Great Wall….

So we settled for the next best thing, the Forbidden City. We packed into the van and off we went.

For those who are a little foggy on their Chinese History the Forbidden City was where the Chinese Emperor and his family lived and most political business was carried out. It was called the “Forbidden” City because it was forbidden for commoners to go into the city. Now, of course, the rules have changed and thousands of regular people flow through the ‘city’ everyday, leaving not so forbidden.

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Now Grams and Papa got their first experience with a full out Chinese line…(or a Chinese…blob…) And of course once we got to the front of the line they waved us through without checking us at all…Well, that is how it goes..

We immediately crossed the street and entered Tienanmen square for the second time. To be honest, it’s really nothing impressive. It’s kinda just a square… Anyways, like I said we had woken up to a wind storm and the gale had not yet subsided. It goes without saying that no one had any problems with achieving the wind blown hair look….Well, except for Papa that is… 😉

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The week Grams and Papa came to visit was the same week of the beginning of the Chinese National Holiday, so they had decorated Tienanmen square accordingly. Now you can’t see it in this picture, but the area around this huge bouquet was selfie-heaven. Literally everyone was pulling out their selfie sticks to get an Instagram worthy picture in Beijing’s famous square, including elderly men and business people.

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After crossing under the road we were met with the perfect photo opportunity for our own little dictator, er, I mean communist leader, outside the gate. I can see some resemblance, what about you? 😉

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IMG_6695.JPGWith only a little trouble (“Are you sure this is the right ticket line, Dad?”) purchased our tickets and made our way inside. It was a great day to go, only us and our couple-thousand best friends. There are many small buildings with artifacts and various parks littered in this miniature city but because of the wind we decided to just take a quick walk through the park to hit the main buildings. Many of the main buildings had a throne or something of that nature on display from the outside so we tried our very best to get a look at those. The problem was that a whole group of people were trying to get a look at the same time. The outcome was that you were literally squashed by the crowd around you trying to get a good look, which means there was a lot of pushing and shoving. Then again, that is just the norm here in China and something you just have to get used to.

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These dog/dragon-like lions were scattered throughout the park and primarily in front of the import buildings as “guardians” of a sort . They are really cool looking and we stood admiring them for a while until someone (I think it was Annie) exclaimed “Uh, guys? He’s crushing the baby!?” It was only then we noticed the baby (or smaller) lion underneath the lions paw. Now that we had noticed it we have found that it is a common theme through these lions guardians surrounding anything from a historical place like the Forbidden City to the convenience/photo shop where we refill our bus cards. Not quite sure what kind of message this sculpture is trying to display, but it has to be positive and encouraging, right?

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After making a way through the ‘royal’ or ‘official’ (for lack of a better word) parts of the palace we moved on to the gardens. This was the younger kids’ favorite party because they had a chance to run around more and even climb on some rocks. 😉 It was clear that that part of the park had been even more adventure-worthy in its original state, but many of those parts had most likely been closed down for ‘safety reasons’. 😉 Which is funny because nothing else really seems to be that concerned in the safety department. But, oh well, I’m sure they have their reasons.

Having successfully made it through both the gardens and the city we dedicated that we should quit while we were still ahead. So, we packed back into our van and headed to Subway for lunch. While we were out we made a quick stop at a tourist/variety market and got to practice our bartering skills. Then, finally, after a day of fun, we headed home.

-Audrey

A few bonus pictures for you:

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This was one of the trees in the Forbidden City… get it? The Forbidden Fruit? No? 😉

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Saw this sticker on a motorbike parked near the sidewalk. It really does summarize Chinese traffic pretty well in my opinion… 😉

Thanks again for reading!

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