The Forbidden City

Was just incredible. The queue to get in though Jesus it was hectic, but once we were in, wow.

We had been down to explore the breakfast that came with our rooms in the hotel, that was an experience. Looking back on it now it’s quite hilarious, because they clocked that we were tourists straight away and they had a room set up for us away from the Chinese people staying there. Long story short, we weren’t there very long, so by the time lunch rolled round we were so hungry!

We walked in at Tienanmen Square where there were buildings all around us and thousands upon thousands of tourists. We even found one of Antonello’s friends from his town, small world!

The City went on for what seemed like miles of detailed mansions with gold roofs and huge tunnels and underpasses and open spaces. Every massive doorway you walked through with golden dragon head door handles on you reached another part of the City where the Emperor and his wives/mistresses lived with his children.

It’s quite hard to explain I guess, so I’ll just show you. They’re different buildings, I promise.

Afterwards, Annie, our tour guide took us to a mall where we spent an hour getting lunch and having a look around. By this point we were starting to get a bit worried for whoever was giving China their English translations. We were used to the racial stereotypes that they innocently (we assume) gave us sometimes. For example, our six foot tall black Nigerian friend must have been a good runner because he apparently looked like Usain Bolt *cringe*.

We’d also spent a lot longer than anticipated in Wall Mart laughing at their hilarious translations, some of the pictures are in previous posts. But that day we saw… this.

Fifty WHAT?!
Fifty WHAT?!

Annie was telling us about the shows that are on in the evening and they sounded really good. She told us that they have a Chinese Opera night and we really wanted to check it out. She discouraged us for a while, saying that we wouldn’t like it because not even Chinese people like it and that ‘we wouldn’t get it’. But after a while of telling her that we actually wanted to go, she wanted to take us straight from the mall. We’d been walking all day and weren’t going to the opera in what we were wearing so we told her that we wanted to shower and change.

She was really taken aback by this, and we found this in Yichang also. They were surprised that we wanted to shower ‘all the time’ like after Tai Chi and dance and spending the day out in 40 degree heat. ‘We don’t care about dressing up for the opera’ she said ‘just go as you are’. She was really confused by us for some reason, but we wanted to shower, get looking smart and then go out.

The Opera was actually really amazing. They put the lyric translations on the TV screens and also put a summary up before each scene – which none of us expected but it made it so much easier and more fun. Rise and I bought a program for it which allowed us to have our seats upgraded to the tables set out closer to the front. Adam also treated us all to a really nice bottle of red wine, we all really enjoyed our night.

The Beijing Five
The Beijing Five







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