03/12/2014 - 03/12/2014
Last day in Beijing! The tour today only had 2 of us. Luckily for me, it was a nice Filipino man on a stopover from the Philippines. We headed to Tianenmen Square and the Forbidden City. There was some monthly government official conference going on so we encountered A TON of military men and bodyguards. There was absolutely no access to the square, so we took pics from afar and headed to the Forbidden City. We learned about this history and how when Chairman Mao came into power the palace was no longer a Forbidden City and everyone was allowed to visit it. There are about 8700 rooms in the palace and the emperor sleeps in a different room each night so that by the time he is 27 he should have slept in every room. The vast number of rooms seems a bit excessive to me. Haha. Anyways, it's pretty impressive how grand and huge the palace is. I walked through the middle gates as the emperor would and the second I walk into the living quarters section I notice a white guy in a plaid shirt who looked awfully familiar....It was Chris and Nicolette! What the. What are the chances. I knew they were going to the Great Wall today but somehow we managed to cross paths. So hilarious. We took a picture to commemorate the moment but it's on Chris' camera. Future Facebook friends it is. We finished up in the forbidden city looking at all the gold that only the emperor could wear and have as well as the huge spacious rooms for his wedding night and working quarters. It all really reminded me of those last scenes in Mulan where she gets her recognition from the emperor and fights Genghis Khan on the roofs of the Forbidden City. Haha
We headed onto a silk factory which this time around I actually got to see how they get the silk and make it into a quilt. It is really sad because they boil the pupa within the cocoon until it's dead. Morbid. But man is silk super soft. Anyways, I was looking at the clothing when I hear someone yell my name....and what do you know I see Nicolette and Chris yet again! Geez. Small world. We parted ways one last time because they were headed to the Great Wall and I had gone yesterday. Glad I got to see them one last time for good times sake.
We headed to the Temple of Heaven after this and it was awesome. It's kind of like a Beijing version of Central Park. There were a ton of Chinese people dancing, singing, tai chiing, playing cards, crocheting, whatever you could imagine. It was a very fun place to walk through. The Temple of Heaven itself is quite amazing. It's 3 circular layers and in this square they made sacrifices to the gods for wealth and prosperity and grain, etc. They typically burned calves but one emperor used human sacrifices. Different times. I can see why superstition is so ingrained into my grandparents and parents now. There is a lot of Chinese history and a lot of stories behind those superstitions. We ate lunch after this and it was really delicious despite only having 2 dishes since there were only 2 of us on the tour. Haha it was some eggplant dish with potatoes and Kung pao chicken.
We left for the Summer Palace and you could see how cool and breezy it would have been there. It was burned down many times and the last to rebuild it was the only empress known as the Dragon Lady. It also has the longest painted corridor in the world. I wish we were visiting in the summer because the huge dragon boats go out onto Longevity Lake. It's pretty crazy how big the palaces are and how much influence Dragon Lady had despite not being very loved by her people. This was the last stop of the day and we headed to another pearl place where this time we were pressured a lot to the point that we just walked straight out to the car after being lectured at for an hour. The one good thing was that this shop was located in the Olympic stadium so I got to see very nice views of it.
Moos chose this delicious restuarant in a shopping mall. We had things I've never had before and it did not disappoint. Because she's training for a triathlon, moos was still hungry. We decided to look for a jenbing but couldn't find any so we decided to get a drink at the Local Bar. I got a Sanlitun sunrise that tasted deliciously of lychee, moos got a mule punch, and we shared a very thick sangria. The combo of being very tired and buzzed made me ptfo when we got back. Luckily I was living pretty well outta my luggage. Tomorrow is my travel day back to the states!