Saturday, November 8, 2008

China Trip - Day 9

It's Saturday morning, and I just finished vacuuming the house. We're getting family pictures taken this afternoon. This will be our first family picture in two years and the first with Isabelle. Man, I hope she cooperates.

Back to China...

Our tour guide, Lynne, picked us up and whisked us off to the Forbidden City. What an amazing experience! It was absolutely massive. I could envision what it was like to live in the emperor's palace hundreds of years ago. There were tons of tourists which is to be expected. We started at the back of the palace and made our way to front gate which, of course, is on Tiananmen Square. Tiananmen Square was exactly that - a big square. Those two stops alone took up our whole morning.

Our tour guide, Lynne...



Approaching the back gate of the Forbidden City...



This might be the best one...



The back gate...



Interesting rock formation...



In the emperor's garden...



Magnificent carving...



Ever roof corner had these little dudes...



One of the many statues...



Lots of folks...



The architecture incorporated patterns and symmetry...



I was treated like a rock star at times...



Outside the Forbidden City...



The Tiananmen Square...



Chinese Parliament...



Me on the square...



After lunch, we had a busy afternoon. We went to the panda zoo, a silk factory, the Summer Palace, and a pearl factory. The zoo was what you'd expect. Lots of Pandas. The silk factory was really cool. We witnessed the process of making silk. The Summer Palace was where the emperor spent his summers. The palace was built on a lake in order that the breeze would keep he and his family cool during the warm summer months. I found this location to be much more beautiful than the Forbidden City.

Entrance to the panda zoo...



Panda in the tree...



Must have caught them during nap time...



Us...



The silk factory...



Sacrifices must be made...



This is not a joke. They actually sell pillows stuffed with silk worm excrement. Supposed to be good for you...



A statue at the Summer Palace...



A dragon...



The Summer Palace...



Aren't we cute?



I could wake up to this every morning...



Stone bridge...



What's that pungent aroma?



Relaxing boat ride...



Some of the doors at the Forbidden City and Summer Palace were blocked by a small piece of metal that a person can easily step over. It was explained to us that it was there to ward off demons. I'm not sure if it's because demons are tiny or if they can't pick up their feet. Anyway, I had to find another way out...



Passing by the Bird's Nest...



Wednesday proved to be an exciting day. It was fun just touring and not being anyone's special guest for a while. I'll try to continue with day 10 soon.

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