Saturday, February 4, 2012

Friday, February 3: The Heart of Beijing

A the center of the very organized city of Beijing is a huge open square with room enough to hold a million people. Once, not too long ago, it held hundreds of thousands of protesting students and, if you say “Tianamen Square” to most people over 35 in the US, they will likely still add the word “massacre” in their minds to complete the image.

But today, the square is filled with tourists from all over China and the world. Some have been in line for hours to see the still preserved body of Chairman Mao who died in 1976. Others are waiting to see the officials file out of the capital building to the West. One man is trying to get his picture taken with a famous American athlete--wait, that’s Bob in his Rockies jacket and cool shades! They think he’s famous! Nice job, Bob, playing the part.

Across the busy street that marks the N-S axis--a street that goes on for over 100 km--is the ancient Forbidden City--the home of the Emperors, their wives, concubines, children, officials and servants. There are so many rooms in this area that if a child were born in the Forbidden City and slept each night of his/her life in a different room, they would be 27 years old before they had covered all the rooms!

Ah! Chinese lunch. Various reactions from our diverse family: “Yum! . . .”
“That’s different . . .”
“It does NOT taste like chicken! . . .”
“Please pass the ketchup. . .”

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