Wednesday, June 24, 2009

May 28, 2009

We had a full day of cultural activities today-Tienanmen Square, The Forbidden City and The GREAT WALL!!! Of course, it was raining, but I'm going to try and not focus on that too much.
First up was Tienanmen Square and the Forbidden City. Tienanmen Square was like a huge open concrete space. There was absolutely no reference to the events that happened during the protest of 1989. I feel like here in America there are statues or memorials everywhere for everything and it is just not like that in China, especially when the event is so negatively looked at by the rest of the world. We took some group pictures in Tienanmen Square and then moved on to the Forbidden City.

The building on this 100 Chinese dollar is the building in the background.

Wide view of the square.

Me in the Square

The Forbidden City was pretty cool. There were lots of government building that were really colorful and fun to take pictures of :) There were many different parts of the Forbidden City-lots of buildings and concrete but also some very beautiful garden areas.

However, something unexpected and a little "unnerving" happened at The Forbidden City. Apparently there was some German diplomat coming to visit and the security guards were clearing everyone else. There were many different areas to The Forbidden City and usually the visitors (thousands of them!) are spread out over those many different areas, but the security guards were squeezing everyone into a few areas. I don't do well with large crowds and the fact that security guards were yelling at us in a language we didn't understand didn't help! I mostly felt sorry for Carl though. He had the task of keeping all 29 of us together in the masses of people and confusion and making sure no one got left behind.

After The Forbidden City we stopped for a traditional Chinese lunch and again, most of us left hungry. Next...The Great Wall!!

We rode the bus for an hour and a half to the Great Wall. The rain made for great nap time. It was raining pretty hard when we arrived at the wall and it was hard to hide our disappointment in the weather, but we put on our rain jackets and headed to the top. We climbed to the tram and passed lots of "vendors" on the way. We loaded the tram cars, 4 to a car, and headed towards the top. I cannot imagine how beautiful the ride on the tram would have been if the weather had been nice.

Even with the rain, The Great Wall was amazing. I have always read about it and seen pictures of it, but nothing compares to actually standing on it. I took so many pictures! Heather from our group brought chalk and we had so much fun writing our friend's and family's names on the wall. It was fun to see everyone get so excited about simply writing their loved ones names on the wall and taking pictures to send home. The chalk definitely lightened the blow of the bad weather.

When we left the wall, we made the trip back to Beijing and toured a silk factory. To be honest, I was not real excited about it but it turned out to be really interesting. We saw how silk was made and then had the opportunity to shop in their gifts shops. I got some really great gifts for friends and family back home.
From the silk factory we headed to Pete's Tex Mex....Mexican food!!! Ok, so it wasn't exactly US Border Cantina, but it was Mexican food. I had fajitas, a margarita and a Dr. Pepper! It was the first Dr. Pepper I had since Detroit. I was in heaven. The only disappointing thing was no cheese dip =(

We found out at dinner that is was Carl's of course we sand Happy Birthday.

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I am a southern girl who loves the VOLS. I recently graduated with my MBA and recently started studying for the CPA Exam. I am currently a Senior Accountant at Vanderbilt; although, my dream job is to be a photographer. I am building my photography business while playing in the "real world". This blog will document my life and my growing photography business. Welcome!