October the first dawned as a bright and sunny day. It was also the start of the Golden Week Holiday in China. Lucille had told me that Beijing would empty out as a lot of people went home for that week. We were going to test this theory with our first stop of the day.
We headed to the subway to go to The Forbidden City.
We barely got out of the subway station and we were immediately in a throng of people shuffling along like penguins towards a security checkpoint. Being Canadian I soon had a few people between Lucille, Curtis and myself. Since I could see them I wasn’t too concerned. Soon I noticed them talking to another foreigner. They were far enough ahead that I couldn’t hear what was being said so I just kept shuffling along with the masses.
They cleared security first and waited for me. The line branched off with the left side heading to Tiananmen Square so the crowds seemed manageable all of a sudden.
We had to clear security again when we entered The Forbidden City and there was a sign saying they were limiting entrance to 80 000 people that day. Oh, eighty thousand, is that all?
Turns out the fellow they were talking too had just arrived from Belgium, dropped his luggage at his hostel and headed out to see Beijing. He wondered if he could tag along with us for a while. We had no objections so the 4 of us started to wander inside the gates.
Construction started in 1406 and took 14 years to build the Forbidden City with over 1 million workers used in it’s construction. It is approximately 3/5ths of a mile by 1/2 mile inside a 28.3 foot tall wall and is surrounded by a moat that is 20 feet deep and 171 feet wide.
To say there is a crap ton of stuff to see there is an understatement and I don’t mean all the people either.
The blue sky was so nice to see but it made for some nasty contrast for photo taking, but you do what you have to do.
As you can see, there were a few people in the place.
It was an area that made for panoramas.
We walked towards the east gate and found an area that was almost empty of people. It was an area with buildings full of pottery.
Tranquility break over we headed back to the main area to work our way north.
The building were quite crowded as were the narrow passageways between building so we headed for a large open area.
We were all getting hungry so we started making our way out.
We wandered around looking for food and finally decided to try Niuge Jiaozi Dumplings. We each picked a flavour and shared 4 fabulous dumplings. It must of looked funny to see 4 left handed foreigners using chop stick. Curtis looks like a pro with them, Lucille looked like she knew what she was doing, our yet unnamed Belgium looked proficient with them and I just sucked using them. It was only my 2nd day mind you. I am liking dumplings a lot though. Our new friend was so happy to get to see stuff that he probably wouldn’t of gotten to that he bought us all lunch.
As we wandered over to Wangfujing Street on our way down to Bug Street we saw a few interesting things.
Not far from Bug Street is an interesting church.
We arrived at Bug Street and waded into the chaos.
We escaped the crush of “Snack Street” without any of us trying any bugs or other disgusting items. Our Belgium friend was starting to slow down but agreed to come with us to check out the Silk Market.
It was my first shopping market and I found something that I thought Lynda would like. I negotiated a price that I was happy with for the family ball that I found for her. Afterwards, Lucille told me I probably could of gotten it for less. I figured you can’t put a price on love, but I’ll know next time.
The Belgium was looking pretty tired at this point so we said our goodbyes (without ever learning his name) and he headed back to his hostel to get some sleep.
We started down the road for Ritan Park.
It is a decent sized park with a nice water feature.
I even found a panda
As we headed towards an exit gate we saw people dancing in the park. Lucille tells me it is a pretty common thing to see and they aren’t always in a park.
On the way to Parkview Green Mall I saw what I thought would be a perfect business opportunity for my brother Kevin.
Parkview Green Mall is a fairly new , modern building with an interesting mix of stores and architecture.
The world’s largest 3D printed structure was on display in the mall.
Punch buggy yellow! No return!
There were other interesting displays in the mall.
Since we weren’t shopping we headed back outside.
It was time to start thinking about supper so we ended up at Luga’s Mexican Restaurant. I would rate both their food and margaritas as average. I know my sister doesn’t like Chinese food much but so far that has been the best food here. Ex-pat food places have been pretty mediocre all in all.
That put an end to a busy day. We only walked 21,690 steps. Seems like it should of been more with all the things we saw today.
There is always tomorrow.