Friday, May 13, 2011

Forbidden City: Beijing Series

It is not difficult to tell if you are near the Forbidden City. Buses are lined up the streets, and a wall seemed to stretch the entire length of an avenue. And it doesn't end. You won't see much from outside, but once you step in, you enter an ancient world.




They say the Forbidden City is the largest palace in the world. The imperial palace was home to emperors and their household of the Ming up to the Qing Dynasty. It is located at the center of the Chinese capital and houses the Palace Museum.


I really felt like I was stepping into history. It was really like entering a set of a Chinese movie. There weren't a lot of people, and the recent snow covered most of the surroundings, giving the palace a surreal look.


We were pressed for time though, and we only had an hour to go around. The palace was huge, and we were only allowed to cover 1/4 of the entire place. It was that big. We were able to see the emperor's offices and quarters though.


The display was amazing and ancient. It was well preserved for over hundred of years, and I can just picture Chinese royalty walking by.


The palace had so many artifacts, like gold laiden jars (or drums), brass lions and even one of the biggest emerald stones I have seen.


The palace was so huge, I imagined having spectacular concert here. We were quite seeing the same things over though, so we decided to move out to Tiananmen Square already.


One of the entrances/exits of the Forbidden City leads to the Tiananmen Square. This was the most famous facade, with the imposing image of Mao. I forgot to ask what is written beside him though.


The Tiananmen Square was located across this facade. We were so tired from walking, that we decided to skip stepping into the largest public square in the world. there were two long LED screens that showed Chinese tourist spots.


It was a very tiring day, but we had one last thing to do, a Hutong Tour. It turned out that it was a bicycle ride along the narrow alleyways of old Beijing. We had a very perky guide who showed us how the common folk lived in these villages.


The Hutong tour was uneventful though, and I thought, could be skipped. It was also freezing already, so it wasn't comfortable. We had our dinner in another Chinese restaurant that served endless dimsum. After dinner, most of us went back to the hotel, but since it was our last night, some of us decided to go clubbing in the Sanlintun area. We drank and danced the night away in one of Beijing's top clubs, Vicks.


The night was wild, and we weren't expecting so much energy. But most of the patrons were foreigners, expats probably, who went crazy over the packed dance floor. It was great night cap to say the least, a perfect way to spend our last night in

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