Forbidden Beauty

Trip Start Mar 06, 2011
Trip End Apr 29, 2011

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Flag of China  ,
Saturday, March 12, 2011

We don't make it out of the hotel until 11am today as we are caught up on all the devastation that has hit Japan the day before which is really heartbreaking to see, even the kids were quite concerned.  CNN reported the earthquake was felt in Beijing, but we didn't feel anything so not sure where they got that information.  The forecasted temperature for today is 19 degrees and  sunny,  but it's still quite cold in the mornings so we all have our jackets on as we make our way down the street just outside of our hotel.  About half a kilometre at the end of our street lie the tall walls of the famous Forbidden City where the Emperors of China once ruled.  Upon arrival at the  South Gate of the Forbidden City, it's buzzing with activity, large tour groups, numerous amount of people selling souvenirs and people offering personal tour guide services.  We decide to choose a personal tour guide named Belinda who helped us skip a massive ticket line and provided history and guidance around the city that was worth our while.   As we enter the Forbidden city there are three doors to choose from, the middle one is the largest and was only to be used by emperor.  As we walk through the middle door as emperors we are presented by huge courtyard, Belinda informs us the bricks we are standing on are original and have been there for at least 600 years and in addition there is 15 layers of brick floor stacked on top each other, apparently the emperor was paranoid of being attacked by a tunnel.   We continue onwards into the forbidden city and learn more of the amazing history that has occured on this very spot.  We make our way to the emperors sleeping palace and  Belinda asks Zinije and I to guess how many concubines one emperor would have, I guessed 100, Zinije guessed 300, we both were way off, Belinda informs us it's 3000.  As we make our way to the end of our tour which is on the North gate of the Forbidden city, Belinda is trying hard to sell us another tour on a rickshaw and to visit a authentic Hutong.  The kids are pretty tired and we just want to take it easy and relax so we thank Belinda for her services by paying her and head across the street to Jingshan Park.  When we told the kids we were going to the park their eyes lit up assuming there would be a playground, but I informed them that this park doesn't have a playground and they agreed to relax on the grass and have some lunch.   When we got in Jingshan Park, it was basically concrete city expect for trees and what ever little grass we did see, we weren't allowed to touch it.  It was still an enjoyable atmosphere though, we bought some noodles and kicked back on park benches eating local noodles while listening to local Chinese music which was actually quite soothing. It was a great way to spend our sunny afternoon.

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