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Forbidden City

May 9, 2008

Tom – We took the 7:15 shuttle from River Garden Villa to the US Embassy and then hopped a subway to the Forbidden City.  It was crowded today and on the platform there were several official subway pushers to cram as many people on the trains as possible.  We felt like sardines! 

 

Just inside the Meridian (south) Gate of the Forbidden City (also known as the Imperial Palace) we hired a young man named Wong to serve as our guide. Helen and Wong are standing in front of the Gate of Supreme Harmony.

The Forbidden City was the ritual center of the last two dynasties, the Ming (1368-1644) and the Qing (1644-1911).  The size of the complex is mind boggling (1,000,000 square meters)! 

Imperial Throne

We spent two hours and just covered the structures along the north-south axis of the city. 

Impressive bronzes

Each symbolic

Our guide insisted that he take our picture in front of a symbol for the “Happy Family.” 

I also took a picture of a Chinese couple in a favorite spot of the Imperial Garden in front of the North Gate.

 

“Cool” elephant

After our tour we walked through the Hutongs on the east side of the Forbidden City and ate a lunch of beef and noodles and a delicious circular fry bed stuffed with greens for $2 at a local restaurant.  Before getting on the subway some students corralled us into seeing their art school exhibit, which was interesting until they hit us up to purchase something!  We continued to the Silk Market and bought three Peak light weight stretch jackets for the boys (Peter, Chad and Brad).

 

Because of all of the construction and closed streets, it took us an hour to walk back to the US Embassy to catch the last shuttle to Joe’s house.  When we finally got there two men from the political office were leaving and, as luck would have it, were driving back to River Garden Villa and volunteered to give us a ride.  Joe and Linda were waiting for us having just returned from the Philippines.             

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