Thursday, April 28, 2011

Monday, April 25 (Mao money mo problems)

Flying into Beijing was my nightmare. If this blog were mine alone, it would be called the Nauseous Traveler. We had to go through about 45 minutes of severe turbulence before finally touching down. I hadn’t been so airsick since a flight to Disneyland in the fifth grade when I threw up so much the guy across the aisle started sympathy puking. At least on the Beijing flight there were a dozen other people throwing up as well. Vindicated!

Note - Sorry about the awkward postdated blog entries for China, but now there’s tons to read over morning coffee or for those of you who need a time filler so you can avoid your job! (You know who you are).

Today is Forbidden City day! The Forbidden City (or Gugong) is awesome and something you should see if you’re in Beijing.

Entering the Forbidden City was interesting. There were huge, overwhelming crowds. Something we found funny was the security checkpoint at the entrance where you could voluntarily have your bag scanned... or not.

The FC is huge. So. Much. Walking. Every time we walked up another set of stairs to go through one of the “Gates” of the city, we would be surprised to see another gigantic courtyard. As Brett declared once we passed through our fourth or fifth gate, “Bloody hell, it does go on forever!” It was so beautiful though. Walking through places like that always makes me wonder about the people who used to live and work and do all their daily stuff there. So interesting!

Near the end of the Forbidden City we went into one of the side buildings to an art show. It was so tempting to buy the beautiful paintings on silk and rice paper! B and I agreed that if we were just on a regular vacation we definitely would have bought some artwork to take home, especially after a woman working at the exhibit laughed and said we were “baby face for not students, very cute”. I love China.

After that we hung out for a bit in Tienanmen Square where there were lots of soldiers around. Half of them were marching together and the rest were chatting in groups and taking photos with Mao’s portrait. One near the back of the marching group was holding a civilian's baby and he was laughing and making the baby wave at us as we exchanged smiles with him. It was a really cool moment. So far so good.

PS - I didn't know Mao was going to be on all the money! And fun fact, China's national flower is the peony which also flourishes in Alberta!

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