Sunday, August 12, 2012

Beijing, China 2012

I'm So Excited They Let Me Into The Forbidden City!

I didn't stand out at all!
Of all of the cities I visited in China, Beijing was the one I was most excited to get to.  We arrived in the morning by sleeper train from Xi'an.  With most of the day still ahead of us, we headed out to the Forbidden City.  

The Forbidden City has been open to the public since 1949.  It is a popular tourist visit, and is enormous in size.  Since we were there in the middle of the day it was packed with tourists and the temperature was scorching.  Keeping hydrated was key as the heat and humidity were torturous.  The entire Forbidden City is paved with stone, so finding a shady spot was next to impossible and meant hugging up to a building with about fifty other sweaty tourists. Most of the Chinese people carry umbrellas and parasols around like Americans carry sunglasses.  I didn't think that I would need one, so I didn't bring the one I had.  I couldn't have been more wrong.  New rule for future travels.....always follow the example of the locals.

Forbidden City Entrance
After about three hours of wandering our way around the maze of the Forbidden City and boring Phil to the point of ditching us for the comfort of the air conditioned hotel room, we left the palace walls on the north side and hiked up the hill to Jing Shan Park.  The hike is steep, but short and gives a spectacular 360 degree view of Beijing.  It also doesn't hurt that it has a fantastic breeze and plenty of shade!

I'm very curious who eats the "Sheep Penis"
As we rolled into the evening hours, we decided to head back to the hotel to clean up and pick up Phil for some dinner.  We took the long way back to the hotel and perused the Night Food Market off Wangfujing Street to see if we would be interested in coming back there for a bit of food.  After seeing the interesting choices of sheep penis and water beetles, we decided that maybe we would pass on eating there and just take a few pictures instead.