Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Day 3 (7/28/07)

I can honestly say that I did so much today, that I will have trouble remembering it all. Today along with the descriptions I will have some photos of the places. I took over 100 pictures today, so I promise to be selective.

The first place we visited today was Tian'anmen Square. What an absolutely huge place. You will notice the monument next to this entry also and this statue is for the people who gave up their lives for China. What was interesting is that you could not get next to it (vandals spray painted graffiti on it a few years back causing this), but they do have school children around the statue explaining its history. It is required for all school children in Beijing to do this once as a part of their education.

After Tian'anmen Square we visited the Forbidden City. This is where many of the emperors lived and did their work. The history of this place and buildings blew me away. The one story that really fascinated me was how one emperor was so paranoid that people were digging underground to pop up in the Imperial Palace to kill him that he ordered 15 layers of stone be layed to prevent this from happening. The pictures show many of the gorgeous buildings.

Our next stop after the Forbidden City was to the zoo to see the giant pandas. I had absolutely no idea they were so big. The Chinese seem to have a real fascination with them.

Our last stop today was at the Summer Palace. This is an absolutely gorgeous place. It at one time was the home of the Dragon Queen and it has the world longest corridor. It also has a marble ship that the Dragon Queen used to use. I was an absolutely incredible ship that you can see in one of the pictures below.

For supper tonight we were treated to Peking duck. This could be one of the best meals I have ever had. I ate duck beak, sweet and sour shrimp, tofu, spicy radishes, duck (with bamboo shoots, mushrooms, and broccoli), Peking duck (which was incredible), and believe it or not my favorite which was bone of duck soup. The restaurant had 6 floors and there was still a line to get a table. The pictures below show the restaurant and the chef cutting the duck.

Well here are my observations for today.
1. The street vendors in China are terrible. As soon as we got off the bus we were bombarded by them. hey were quite aggressive and many times would not take no for an answer.
2. People in China for some reason are fascinated by Americans. I saw numerous times where someone in our tour group was asked to stop and take their picture with someone. I later found out this was because many people have never seen an American before.

Tomorrow is the Great Wall and I am very excited about this.

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