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... playing with pearls. It is the largest stone sculpture in the Forbidden City. Sculpted originally in the Ming dynasty, it was re-sculpted in the Qing dynasty. During these dynasties, anyone who was caught touching this holy stone would receive the death penalty! Weighing about 250 tons, the marble slab is 16.57 meters long, 3.07 meters wide and 1.7 meters thick. The huge stone was hauled into the palace from Fangshan, up to 70 kilometers from Beijing. This difficult task ...
... effects of the crash and explosions, which no doubt would have scarred us forever. It really opened our eyes to what goes on around the world and in particular, China and we are grateful to live in a democratic country where people have rights and freedom of speech. We were very scared after the incident and haven't told anyone about this until now as we wanted to have left China for fear of anything happening to us given the Big Brother nature of the country. It didn't leave us ...
... it quite easy. We arrived and took a chair lift, of all things, up to the great wall. We walked to the north first, up steep, steep stairs and through a few guard towers before coming to the end of the repaired wall. We then hiked through some of the "wild wall" before having to stop as it became to overgrown. After gazing upon the rolling hills, blue sky and distant guard towers along the ridges, we made our way back to the where the chairlift dropped us off ...
... Chinese restaurant in the city but the quality is fancier. I had duck noodles which were really good. After we ate, we stepped out to take a stroll in our neighborhood. It was freezing cold. I'm talking bone chilling, ball shrinking cold. If you ever spent January in New York City, Beijing is worse in November if you could imagine. Luckily, I packed accordingly: heavy jacket, thermals, hat, scarf and gloves. My partner argued with me ...
... awaited our food, only to be surprised by what turned up! At a guess we think we ate a plate of different types of sea weed and Chinese mushrooms that had a lot of chili on with something else that was nice but had no idea what it actually was! We ate what we could of the food (seaweed being particularly challenging as beginner chop stick users) and went to pay the bill where an additional 3 pound had arrived from somewhere but seemed a pointless battle to argue as they ...