First I will say that the internet has been down since late Saturday night, I tried to post when I got back from Tian’an men and the Forbidden City but no luck.
My day in the heart of Beijing was interesting, I enjoyed it more than one would think. I was still recovering from food poisoning (or whatever it was) but I was able to go out and enjoy my day without any hindrance, mind you I kept clear of food. I only had to make one mad dash to the restroom during the time that we where there so I think all in all it was a success. Poor Jordan who was also under the weather also made it through the fieldtrip without any excitement but she did crash when we made it back to the room. I felt bad, I for some strange reason had a lot of energy and wanted to go out exploring but I couldn’t leave behind a sick roommate so I did homework or something to keep myself occupied incase she needed me.
When you approach Tian’an men square from the street you have to walk under the busy street that encircles the square, when you emerge you don’t immediately grasp just how big the place is.
You look across and it flat and almost uninteresting. Scattered with buildings it is not until you start to walk across the square that you come to realize how far you have walked. I only walked length-wise not width-wise so I still don’t full appreciate that some half a million can stand there at one time.
The scale is truly grand, that portrait of Mao must be huge, but it doesn’t hit you how big.
I walked up to this memorial you can’t get very close to it but I was stunned at how big it is. I have seen footage of people camping on it but I thought to myself, “Wow, that really is big.” (I suppose size does matter). In retrospect I should have walked all the way around the monument so I could comment on how big it is but I didn’t want to get lost in the crowds.
To get to the Forbidden City you have to pass through a “double gate” meant to confound intruders.
Once you are though the initial gates you pass through a series of courtyards that are connected by gated stairs. It seems that you can walk from the South Gate to the North Gate in more or less a straight line, through the Emperor’s bedchamber; calling it a bedroom seems rather pedestrian.
Once you get past the living and administering quarters you enter what seems to be the garden area. This garden more than makes up for the total lack of flora in the lead up to it. Once you leave the garden you begin the process of exiting the grounds.
When exiting you again pass through the “double gate” and pass over the moat. I cannot unfortunately give a good tour of what we saw or the actual lay out of the grounds more than just vague layout. However I suspect that is less important that what one actually sees when they are out exploring.