My fourth day of my trip and my last day in Beijing was a full one. My day started with going to Tiananmen Square. At first it surprised me that people were ready to wait 3 hours in line to see the grave of Chairman Mao but then again, you have to consider his importance to the country and government as well as how he is venerated to a godlike level. Even at the entrance to the forbidden city there is a huge portrait of Mao that overlooks the square. I thought that it was crowded that day but apparently according to Dr. Li we got lucky because it can get much more crowded.
Our time in Tiananmen Square was short only because we had to go to the Forbidden city, the emperors palace in history. My first impression of the palace was how massive it was and I hadn’t even begun to walk through it. We must have passed through what felt like seven or so huge courtyards just to get to the end of the palace. Even at the back of the palace there was a beautiful garden full different rock structures that wowed me. The whole time I was amazed by the bright reds and golds of the buildings, and the detail put into it all. My only complaint was the stonework wasn’t the best to walk on, but then again when they had horses it’s probably the last thing they were thinking about.
The rickshaw rise surprised me with how much I liked it. We went through the downtown section of Beijing and the part that surprised me was that there were no High rises like the other areas of Beijing. This is because that large apartments complexes that have been recently built are mostly empty, and the houses low to the ground are very old. We got a chance to visit someone’s house after the ride which had been in his family for centuries. These houses are where the upper class live in Beijing, and they are worth so much because of their age. It was nice to see how people in Beijing live and we got to talk to a parakeet there that said hello in English and Chinese.
Last thing I thought that I would be doing during the day was tai chi in the visit Temple of Heaven. Tai chi was definitely as relaxing as its been told to be and a whole lot of fun. I definitely did not know what to expect at first but what it reminded me of was water bending from the show Avatar the Last Airbender. It was lots of slow movements that were pretty hard to put together at first but it all worked out in the end. The Temple of Heaven was also super tall but it makes sense considering it was supposed to convene with the gods in heaven (even though emperor just pretended to). We almost made it to Dairy Queen for the perfect end to the day but someone unnamed had to get lost right before we left.