Well this weekend has been a whirlwind; I apologize for not posting sooner.
Saturday: Well though I difficulty sleeping last night I did finally fall asleep around 3am. After getting ready and grabbing a bite to eat I headed downstairs to meet my tour guide, Teresa.
First we headed out to the Temple of Heaven. Teresa filled me in on all the facts on worshiping heaven and all the signs of luck. We passed people doing aerobics on the lawn, and groups of people playing games. One man tried to teach me how to throw these sticks back and forth in the air – I think I scared them because I would get them going then lose one and try and catch it, aka people had to watch out haha. I’m no flaming baton thrower like my mom’s business partner, ms. Elizabeth!
Next was Tiananmen Square, the security was very heavy due to the protest/massacre in 1989. There is a building where somebody famous is buried in a crystal tomb. I’m can’t recall his name but people stand in line for hours every day to give him an offering of money. Tiananmen Square is basically what its name is, it’s a large plaza named after the Gate of Heavenly Peace, and it’s just a big open area. We also visited Dashila, a really old walking street; it’s being renovated so a lot of the shops are no longer there right now. A trolley runs through it that you can ride so you can see it all and look at the existing shops.
After that we headed to the Forbidden City, its huge! I learned how the more animals/creatures on the corner of each of the building’s roofs stood for the importance of the building or the residents. These animals/creatures are sort of gods and represent different things. The Forbidden City is the imperial palace and has close to a thousand buildings which consist of close to nine-thousand rooms. Nine is considered to be the highest number, and one of China’s many lucky numbers haha. On all the gates there are nine knobs by nine knobs and people believe if you rub them when you pass you will have good luck.
We had a quick lunch at a local restaurant and headed on our way to the Summer Palace.
The Summer Palace is beautiful, a vast lake, trees, rocks, flowers. It currently holds the world’s longest corridor, having a total length of 782 meters and having over 14,000 hand-painted pictures. The corridor was build so the mother of the emperor could go on a walk without worry of the weather. We then climbed up a small mountain and went to the Buddhist Temple. As you know I believe in God, not Buddha, so this was a bit uncomfortable for me. One wall of the temple was covered in little Buddha statues; inside one Buddha sat on either side of the big one. I went in and right back out, but I snuck a picture on the way in/out – don’t think you are allowed to do that. We walked back down and headed home. I am still trying to process all that I saw, it all happened so quickly!