We all went to dinner together on the third floor of the hotel. The third floor, as we had earlier peaked out of the elevator, is a very fancy restaurant. Dr. Li ordered a range of dumplings for us all and even after something like three-hundred dumplings per table of eight it was only about sixty yuan or roughly nine dollars. After dinner we all took the subway (thank you Dr. Li for the fair!) to the Olympic park.
The Olympic park was very cool. It was interesting to see how many people were there not just touring but also how many were just using it as a park. There were quite a few people just skateboarding or hanging around. With the upcoming 2022 Olympics construction was already well under way for new venues and performers were even practicing inside of the stadium.
Unfortunately, this was our final breakfast in Beijing so our last day eating the fantastic hotel breakfast. We were off early to Tiananmen square with Uncle Joe as our guide once again. The square itself was absolutely massive. It was very strange being there because Chinese and non-Chinese have a very different understanding if what happened there. Due to the governments control of information in China the incident in the square is all but hidden from the public (which explains the heavy police and military presence around the square.)
We then walked to the Forbidden City. An interesting note is that there are no trees inside the city proper because if you put the character for tree inside of a square it means trouble so having a tree in a square is bad luck. There was a distinctive difference between the Forbidden City and similar things in European countries. In European countries opulence is shown through gems and fancy interiors. In the Forbidden City there were no gems, just a lot of gold and blue paint. In the time of its construction blue dye and gold leaf were extremely expensive and only the wealthiest could afford them. I found this cultural difference between opulence very interesting.
Uncle Joe then took us deep down an alley for a rickshaw ride. The rickshaws themselves were very interesting. They had only one gear and the break was a wire stung between the from t and the back that the driver just stepped on to break. The ride took us even deeper into the nationhood’s and we ended at a local man’s house. He had a very traditional house on the area and would host nearly eighty people a day. It was a pretty small one-bedroom house surrounding a courtyard the held birds. It was a neat look into a traditional experience.
We then visited the Summer Palace which was where the Emperor would visit twice a year to make sacrifices to their god. The buildings themselves had cool color symbolism. The outer walls had a green roof to symbolize the earth, the main building had a blue roof to symbolize being humble for the god, and the surrounding buildings had yellow/red roofs to symbolize royalty.
For our final night in Beijing Dave, Diana, Cat, Jake, and I headed out to get dinner and explore. We started and a noodle place next to our hotel which was roughly the same fanciness as a noddle’s and company back home. The cashier was so excited to help us because she got to use her English (which was pretty good). Over all the food was pretty good.
Next, we decided to walk to a local mall. Malls as I’ve mentioned before are very fancy, this was no exception. While the mall was fancy it was quite cheap. We got pastries, which were only around a dollar US! The entire experience was very cool and I’m glad we got to go out our last night.