Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Beijing: Day One

Because we had such a great weekend, and I like dragging things out, I'm going to post about Beijing in three installments. Here's the first: We flew into Beijing Saturday morning, headed right to our hotel to check in, and then walked up to Tienanmen Square. It was incredible to walk through such a large area (the largest public square in the world) with such intense history. Mao's portrait looks down from the northern end, while his body is held in a refrigerated chamber in a mausoleum in the center of the Square. Twice daily, it is raised for public viewing (not something we took advantage of.)

From there, we walked through the Gate of Heavenly Peace (right under Mao's portrait) into the Forbidden City, which got its name because it was off-limits to the public for over 500 years. It is an enormous compound of buildings that once housed two dynasties of emperors - Ming and Qing. It includes a courtyard that was large enough to hold audiences of up to 100,000 people and the classically-Chinese Imperial Garden.
Next, we headed to the Olympic Park, where we braved the chilly evening to see the Bird Cage and Water Cube up close. Exciting, given how closely we both watched the 2008 Olympics. To top off the night, we headed back to the hotel for dinner and a Beijing Opera show in the hotel's Liyuan Theater. Beijing Opera is a mixture of theatrics, acrobatics, singing, and instrumental performances, complete with elaborate costumes and makeup. We uploaded a short video of part of the show here: http://hsinchina.shutterfly.com/videos.
All in all, a great day. Cold, but sunny with beautiful blue skies. definitely slept well that night! Pictures here: http://hsinchina.shutterfly.com/1659 (cut and paste into your browser.)


  1. Great videos and pics! ...FYI: The link to the pictures didn't make it in, but was able to get there on Shutterfly

  2. Thanks for the heads up - picture link added. Thanks for looking!