Our last day in Beijing is already here and it was a busy one. To start the day, we went to Tiananmen Square. It was a cool experience to see Tienenman Square in person because of its rich history in China. The square was massive along with the mural of Mao Zedong, the countries gloried, past leader. After walking through Tiananmen Square, we entered the Forbidden City. The Forbidden City was home to Ming dynasty emperors and Qing dynasty emperors. The buildings in the Forbidden City were painted red with yellowish roofs. All of the beams were painted with fine details in blue, red, and green. The courtyards were all stone with no green spaces. I asked Dr. Li why there are no trees and it is because of security reasons. The Forbidden City was built on seven layers of stone, so there is no way for trees to grow.
As we continued through the city, we reached the Imperial Garden which had lots of trees and plants. I found this part of the city very pretty with all of the traditional Chinese architect mixed with all of the plants. After we left the Forbidden City, many of us decided to buy fake Rolex watches. The watch is definitely low quality, but for 45 yuan, or about $7 USD, it was worth it.
Our next stop was the Hutong which was a residential part of the cities. Hutong isn’t a specific area, but areas of the city with established neighborhoods. While we were there, we rode in rickshaws which are little carriages pulled by a bicycle. I rode with Joe on it through the Hutong. It was definitely and interesting ride and was cool to be able to experience something less touristy. At the end of the ride, we walked to a local’s house who invited us to see what living in Beijing is actually like. The house was one story with stone/cement floors. We sat in the entrance and living room while Mr. Wang told us about his house. The house was 200 years old and his family has resided in it for 150 years. While the house seemed small, Mr. Wang said most people prefer the houses because the high-rise apartments have less space. Meeting Mr. Wang and getting a glimpse into his life was a great experience.
After lunch, we headed to the Temple of Heaven. The temple was used as a place for sacrifices to the gods for things like a good harvest. Before we entered the temple, we had a Tai Chi class in the garden. I thought it was very fun to do Tai Chi and felt very authentic; we performed the five basic family strokes. After we finished, we went to see the temple. The temple had three tiers. The bottom half of the first tier was painted red for the royal-ness. The temple was then painted blue the rest of the way for the gods. The buildings surrounding the temple had green roofs to connect to Earth. I’ve noticed that many of the traditional Chinese buildings have very similar architect and designs. The Temple of Heaven was the last visit we had today, so we went back to the hotel afterwards.
For dinner, a group of us went to “snack street” and ate at an authentic Chinese restaurant. The food was tasty, and I was able to try many authentic Chinese dishes. I even tried chicken foot which was neither good nor bad, but kind of gross. Shoutout to Noah for letting go of the one end and letting the foot slap me in the face as I ate it.
The night finished with me needing to pack before we leave for Xi’an early tomorrow morning. Overall, Beijing was an awesome experience and the sheer size of it blew my mind. I am ready to see the other two Chinese cities though; Beijing is a bit too hectic.