Okay, So my parents and I flew into LA first to catch the international flight to Beijing. This worked out fine, we had to be in LA at least 3 hours early for our long flight to China and we arrived with four hours to spare, plenty of time. Well, my Dad was still freaking out, constantly on edge and being very successful of getting on Tasha's and Mom's and my nerves. But 13 hours later we arrived in Beijing.
'the big yellow one is the sun'
The first thing I noticed upon leaving the plane is just how smoky it smelled. Apparently, we just missed Chinese New Year by a day and so I thought it was just because of the holiday (massive firework shows), but no. This was the weather of the whole trip. Foggy, smoggy and while watching the news the other day, they said Beijing had a record high in pollution, and they advised everyone to stay indoors. Yeah, no time for that. But the general gray tone of the rest of the pictures will be a norm, sorry.
That's Jing, our Tour Guide for Beijing :)
Our first spot we hit was Teian Men Square (spelling?) and the Forbidden City. (No rest for the weary travelers. We just jumped right in.) The square was just a huge place where historically the government shot a bunch of rioter, mainly college students, who didn't like the government; this happened more than twenty years ago. But the square still is the resting place of the Dictator who ordered that massacre and comes along with complimentary soldiers:
So you never forget who's boss.
That aside, we went from the square to the Forbidden City. This place was Huge! Our guide describe the size as: if there was a baby born in the Forbidden city and he slept in a different room each night, he wouldn't start repeating rooms until he reached the age of 28. Dang Gina!
After three gates, we were still in the outer section!
There was massive amount of detail in each of the buildings. And a reoccurring theme of Dragons (represented the Emperor) and Phoenix (Empress). Also a lot of Gold and Reds, which any peasent who tried to use those colors outside of the palace or for a gift to the Emperor would be arrested. Crazy, but the Europeans did that with Purple so okay.
The Forbidden City took about three hours to get through and we didn't even double back, we walked strait through. But after the cold and long walk, our hotel was finally open for check-in. And our guide cut us loose for a free afternoon. So our personal Guide, Tasha, had plenty of stuff for us to explore and do for the afternoon.
Our first stop was the Temple of Heaven. If any of you have been to Disney World, this is going to be very familiar:
Yeah, when we arrived on location, I looked up at the temple and was like, 'I've totally seen this thing before'. It is in the Epcot center as the center piece of the China Pavilion. I should do a collage of all the places I've been to compared to the representations of the Disney Parks. I think I got most of them covered, well.. I still need to get to Everest, but yeah that's for another trip.
Back to the temple, okay my favorite part of the whole thing: Yes, it was ornate, yes, it was completely symmetrical and had perfect repeating designs, yes, it had an awesome site where if you stood in the center of it you were considered to be standing in the center of the universe:
The place was pretty awesome though and really fun to explore. The rest of the day was us getting lost in the back alleys of China, walking through some questionable areas trying to find an underground tour that had closed two years prior but it was fun getting lost and finding ourselves again.
That's all for today, until tomorrow for Day 2 :)
Adventure is out there!