[Beijing] Tai Chi early morning, our first day (Sunday). A sign welcomed all to join, but the costumes and the fact that the whole exercise took place right in front of a large glass cafeteria window made me stay away.
[Beijing] The Temple of Heaven--made entirely from wood--no nails, screws, metal. I was fortunate to get a picture sans tourists. Though you can't see from the picture, the site (as most all of the sites the tour visited) was quite full of people.
[Beijing] Detail of the Temple of Heaven complex. This is an inside ceiling.
[Beijing] The Temple of Heaven is surrounded by a large garden full of older people, who go there every day to dance, sing opera and play maj jong. People were just hanging out, being social.
[Beijing] I liked this statue. Don't remember anything about it. I blame that on my bad memory and the fact that the journey to Beijing, the way we flew, with a stop first in Shanghai and with the time change, was 34 hours. The first day of sightseeing is a big blur.
[Beijing] Tiananmen Square, the largest public square in the world. We followed the Ritz tour flag into the middle for a surprise group photo (which we could purchase later, of course...)
[Beijing] The Forbidden City, seat of imperial power during the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911). The grounds cover about a kilometer, all designed for the Emperor and his attendants and ladies. Couldn't go inside any of the buildings, but could peer through windows.
[Beijing] The Forbidden City, Emperor's throne. The most interesting story about thrones in the Forbidden City is the story of the Empress Dowager Cixi, who sat on a throne behind three boy Emperors' throne and advised them through a curtain. She effectively ruled China from 1856-1911. It all happened here.
[Beijing] The Forbidden City, Mom before Turtle.
[Beijing] Photo from bus. China Post truck. I meant also to get a photo of the Beijing cabs, all of which were decorated with a large placard promoting the 2008 Olympics. "Build new Beijing, Hold Great Olympics."
[Beijing] Photo of the garden in the Forbidden city.
[Beijing] Lotus flowers with mom taken at the Dragon Lady's summer palace. Cixi built this palace three times--twice it was destroyed by fire.
[Beijing] Cement boat in the summer palace. (I guess they gave up on wood.)
[Beijing] Our first dinner in China: Peking Duck. The restaraunt had this duck in front of it, the best part of the whole meal.
[Beijing] Chinese Acrobatics show. Six to ten-year old girls and slightly older boys flipped high in the air, or balanced on one arm on a platform or jumped through rings that seemed too far above the ground and too small to pass through. Amazing combinations of balance, strength and agility.
[Beijing] Camel on Great Wall.
[Beijing] More Great Wall.
[Beijing] More Great Wall.
[Beijing] View from Great Wall.
[Beijing] Cricket basket. Kept outside for good luck and soothing cricket noises. I took this picture outside a "common man's house". It was a stop on one of the tours...
[Beijing] Second duck dinner... This one was with a former student of my mom's brother and this dinner was really good. The restaraunt also had a duck in front, which mom insists is different than the duck in front of the inferior duck shop.