Day 4 in Beijing was full of tourist visits to the different historical parts of the city. Beijing has a lot of history of the country as it has served as the capital for many years. First, we went to Tiananmen Square where we were able to look at Chairman’s Mao’s memorial (from the outside) and the entrance to the Forbidden City. After taking some pictures in the square, we started to walk towards the entrance to the Forbidden City and we were being stared at my the locals and many were aiming their cameras at us for a photo or a video. Funny and odd thing was that they never asked for a picture or video, they just stand from afar, stare, and point their camera. It’s interesting to see this happening in Beijing because it has happened at very popular tourist attractions. It makes me wonder how much more different the response will be from the people of Xi’an.
After walking through the entrance to the Forbidden City, I looked around and the sheer size of it was remarkable. The architecture of ancient China seems similar in shape and color. The roofs follow the same triangle shape made of glass/wood that looks like bamboo and the walls were all red. Each building also had art hung from the base of the roof all around. As we kept walking, we entered a museum within the site which showed some old artifacts of the era. At the end, we walked through the imperial garden which was a very peaceful, beautiful area of the city that was full of greenery and aesthetically pleasing stones.
We travelled to the Hutong Area which is an area in Beijing that is a traditional form of living. The houses are small and one floor, but have enough room to live comfortably and cozy. We took a rickshaw tour of the area which was fun. After the tour of the area, we got off and visited a local, Mr. Wang. Mr. Wang shows his living quarters, which has been in his family for 150 years (seven generations), to 70-80 visitors per day. It was very cozy, as described above, decorated with traditional Chinese fixtures as well as tourist items from the tourists that have visited his home and presented him with a gift from theirs.
We went to the Temple of Heaven where we received a Tai Chi lesson. This lesson was very serene and made me focus and I got some good stretches too! I also learned that there are different forms of Tai Chi and the one we learned is the Chen Family version. The Temple itself was very pretty and fits the description of ancient Chinese architecture.
To finish the day, some of us ventured out into the city and went to a place called “Snack Street” which is a very popular street food market in the city. We were able to meet with a fellow student’s TA from Pitt and he showed us to the most popular restaurant on the street. The food was authentic market food, including different types of meats, vegetables and deserts. As mentioned in my previous blog, I am a very picky eater. But, these new experiences are opening my palette and as time moves on I am becoming more adventurous and trying new things.