Entry #4 Tiananmen Square and the Temple of Heaven

Today was the last day in Beijing. I was feeling very American so the only thing I ate for breakfast were Rice Krispies. After breakfast we went to see Tiananmen square and the forbidden city at the center of Beijing. Tiananmen square is the third largest square in the world, and one of the most important parts of the square is where Chairman Mao’s body is located. The first thing I noticed at Tiananmen square was how long the line for Mao’s body. It wrapped around the building and was probably longer than the line for space mountain at Disney World. There was also a patch of beautiful flowers that were out for the Beijing Expo held this month. One of the most incredible parts of the forbidden was a room with an array of rare treasures related to the forbidden city and Chinese culture. One thing I learned from this room is that in Chinese the word pomegranate shares the pronunciation with the word children. Due to this similarity pomegranates have become very important and prominent in Chinese culture. At the forbidden city there was the Imperial Garden, it was a beautiful green space in the middle of the city. After the forbidden city we walked to our next adventure and rode in the rickshaws, which are bikes with cart attached to the back. It was really nice to see the quieter parts of the city away from all of the traffic of the city. We then visited someone’s house in the middle of Beijing. His family has lived there for over one-hundred and fifty years and it had so many small trinkets in it, including some small Buddhist items and furniture that was extremely old. On the way out we saw his birds and they knew how to say hi in both English and Chinese which was extremely impressive. After seeing downtown Beijing, we went to the Temple of Heaven. Before we entered the Temple of Heaven, we took a Tai Che class and it was extremely fun. Half way through Drew ended up having to lead it and he did an extremely good job at remembering the steps to the routine. On the way into the Temple of Heaven there were a bunch of old people playing cards and I tried to join in, but I didn’t understand what game they were playing so I stayed with the group. The Temple of Heaven was incredible and was built without a single nail. On the way back from the Temple of Heaven we noticed that Matt was missing, and it took us almost twenty minutes to find him. After the Temple of Heaven, we went to get street food with Matt’s friend from Pitt. He helped us order a ton of food on the street and it was really good. I tried a chicken head for the first time it was a very interesting experience. Not a ton of flavor but it was good to try. After the chicken head we got a really good dessert that was kind of like a popper, but it had sugar on it, and it was extremely sweet. The last day in Beijing was awesome and it was one of the most unique cities that I have ever been to.

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