Sunday, June 14, 2009

Beijing, China Day 2

Day 2 was a very busy day. We packed Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City, Lunch, Tea Market, the Temple of Heaven and dinner all in one long stretch. The tea market was another tourist trap we had to go to watch the traditional serving of Chinese tea (they have it with everything) and to buy something of course which we did not do. The other trap was the silk market to watch them make silk rugs, which would have been cool to see but we were exhausted. It was a warm day and we were ready to relax in our hotel room. We also opted against the Chinese Opera that evening which our tour guide said would have definately put us to sleep...we'd rather be in bed, we thought :) So here's the start of our day, driving to Tiananmen Square and seeing yet another motorized bike loaded with stuff! Tiananmen Square is known for it's massacre in 1989 where 2,500 student protestors were murdered and an estimated 7-10,000 injured. The protests were against the communist government. The demonstrations lasted 7 weeks in this square until the government brought in their tanks and militia and brutally killed these peaceful, pro-democracy intellectuals. Just 2 weeks ago on June 4th marked the 20 year memorial of this tragic event.
I am not taking a picture of this building; I am taking a picture of the empty part of the square where many of us remember the event the brave student that stood in front of the Chinese tanks and halted them in a line. Watch this video of the event:
We asked our tour guide where the man is and he said that the government doesnt want people to remember him. No one knows of his whereabouts, most likely he was killed after his stance against communism. I read online this past June 4th that many family members of those that were killed were banned from leaving their homes by the governement in order to prevent family members from speaking to the media about the tragedy. It is kept hush, hush by most Chinese in fear of retribution.

Directly across the street is The Forbidden City which we head to next.

The Forbidden City was the Chinese Imperial Palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. It was the home of the Emperor and was also used for political gatherings. Built from 1406 to 1420 it holds 980 buildings with 8,707 rooms at 7, 800,000 square feet! We took the "short" 2 hour version of the tour which was still way too long for us; but well worth the trek!

I think Andy's a little jealous Tyler's getting all the attention :)

A sea of umbrellas and parisols!

A very tired Tyler on our way to the Temple of Heaven.
The Temple of Heaven was visited by the Emperors for annual ceremonies of prayer to Heaven for good Harvest. It is regarded as a Taoist Temple. This is the ourter courtyard before the Temple entrance.

The main temple. Our guide told us it was made entirely from wood by hand with no is truely a masterpiece!

The outer circle of the temple is for sacrifice and incense. The green bowl on the right was for sacrifice of lamb to the Emperor's deceased father who reigned before him. The sacrifice was in the fall to ask the dead father for a good harvest.... the small bowls to the left of the green one burned with incense during the ceremony. It was only if the harvest was good that the Emperor would enter in the main temple for a ceremony of thanks, otherwise it was considered unholy to step inside it. Too many things to remember if you ask me!!
Tyler with our guide Fernando (obviously not his Chinese name :)

There was a photo shoot as we were walking around it...pretty cool.

The Temple happens to sit in the middle of a large garden in the city. We took some time to walk was beautiful :)

Tons of live Chinese artists and musicians

Tyler getting blown away by the wind, but loving it!

We didn't go the Chinese Opera that night, but didn't miss out. This lady was practicing with her accomplice. We sat and listened for a bit.
Then we stumbled across these guys. A big group of men and women singing. We don't know what they were practicing for, but the songs were pretty funny. I have a video I'll post later :)

Our traditional tea demonstration.
I like tea...
...Andy does not!
Mac Daddy Tyler!

I had to go to the bathroom at our restaurant...didn't quite know how to do's hard to find "Western toilets" as they call them; so get used to squatting!
Duck, pork, more pork with veggies, and eggs with tomatoes. Don't forget the green tea!

Finally back to our hotel room to relax for the evening :)
Our guide told us we bought "junk". To us these hats our "treasures" and will go nicely in our costume bin :) We are also sporting the ever common peace sign the Chinese like in all of their photos.

Now, can you call anything "junk" on a cute kid like that? I don't think so :)

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