the beijing part of my trip is about to end. tomorrow morning we are flying out to xian for a couple of days. so far this trip has been completely packed. each day going to at least two sites. just crazy. the only free time i’ve gotten was during the first day. in the morning my dad and a couple of others went to visit a hospital and i ended up in a famous gardens not far from my hotel. it was gorgeous. i took about an hour to troll through it. being in the middle of the city i didn’t think it would be that large, but it seemed like it didn’t ever end. (i spent 40 yuan to get in, and then found out that guest at the hotel get in free.. ooops.. oh well). that afternoon we ended up at the temple of heaven, which is where the emporer use to make sacrifices up the god of heaven. there is a huge alter when you walk into the gardens. surrounding the temple it self there is a circlular wall called the echo wall. the way it was designed, you can be on opposite sides of the circle and talk into the wall and the person on the other side should be able to hear you…. there were so many people there that everything just sounded like one be jumble of noise.
people… SO many people. i know that i’m in the largest populated part of the world, but seriously there are so many people everywhere. and so many chinese tourist. the majority of tourist in beijing seem to be from the rural parts of china. tons and tons of them. i thought that vatican city was busy, that’s sparse to what the forbidden city or the great wall is like.
i was at the great wall of china yesterday, so cool. our tour guide told us there were two directions from where we started that we could go. to the right was the easier and more scenic route, and to the left was the harder less picture-perfect way. the only catch is the eaiser part of the wall was crawling with people… like shoulder to shoulder all the way up the wall!!! i opted out and went the harder way. the climb was steep but the picture of the wall turned out pretty good. i ended up going most of the other way too. by time i made my way up that side all the people had started to get tired and go back down. and the view of wall were spectacular from there. it was worth going to both parts. though my knee ended up giving up on my half of the way down. it hasn’t recover yet… boo…. it happened a bit when i was in europe last year, but not to this extent. steve, i know how you feel now when you go down stairs, it feels like my knee is going to just give out and i’m going to go stumbling down all the way down to the bottom of the forbidden city.
went to the forbidden city and tian an men square this morning… the square can hold a million people at one time!!! that’s crazy. walking around on it is actually kind of boring, but a huge slab of concrete with a momument in the middle. but thinking back on how many historical events have taken place there amazes me. the forbidden city was awesome! from beginning to end it’s 1km long, and it’s 900m wide. just huge! this is were i experienced an overwhleming amount of people. (langer, just imagine the amount of people cued at the vatican city, but now imagine that enitre court yard full of people all at once trying to get into the front door all at once… just insane) i was say to tyler today that all my pictures are going to look the same. all the architecture is pretty much the same here. all from the same time and all from the same traditional background.
it still hasn’t sunk in that i’m on the opposite side of the world in china. the tour group that we’re with tries it’s hardest to westernise a lot of things. which actually really annoys me. i want to see the true china, the gritty beijing. i saw a bit of it last night. homan’s dad, homan is my sister’s boyfriend, is working in beijing right now and he took a couple of us out last night. they have a great night life here. the main place, street, is surrounds a man made lake with bars, clubs and restaurants. so cool. with the chinese culture being so bright already, everything just sparkles off the lake. people roaming everywhere, and outdoor lounges lining the shore. if i had more time and wasn’t with a tour group i’d be there every night. speaking of tour groups…. i don’t fit in one! it’s been 4 days and i’m ready to pull my hair out. i don’t travel well in preplanned groups, where there is no freedom to do anything. this is the first and last tour group i will ever travel with.
stay tuned i will have pictures up soon. i need to get to dinner and this computer is SUPER slow….