Saturday, March 15, 2008

Wangfujing and Tasty Eats

After Forbidden City, we opted for something a little more modern. We went a few blocks away to Wangfujing street, a pedestrian shopping area with a foreign book store, toy store, Olympics souvenirs, and many clothing stores. We looked around, but didn't go into too many of the shops. We walked to Oriental Plaza, a huge mall, which had many European and American stores. The prices were pretty high since even the stuff that was made in China had to be exported and then reimported.

We had lunch at Made In China in the Grand Hyatt. The Peking Duck was delicious! After that, we wandered down a side street off Wangfujing known as the Night Market (although we were there in the afternoon.) The Night Market is the kind of place you take someone that you want to dare to do something...

How about some tasting seahorses? cicadas? crickets? starfish? Fresh on a stick and grilled to tasty goodness to your liking. The scariest were the scorpions on a stick...still alive...still wiggling...EEK!

And no, I didn't try any. :)

Enough of the Forbidden City!

After several hours, we decided we'd had enough of the Forbidden City. It was beautiful, but got monotonous after a while. At least the Western end had some lovely enclosed gardens to see before leaving the area.

Pretty Details

Here are some pics of the details around the Forbidden City.

Lair of the Concubines

OK, it's not actually called lair of the concubines, it's just the part of the palace that the many concubines stayed in. This was the only part we saw that included furniture and decorations.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Inside the Forbidden City

The Forbidden City was built in the 1400's and served as China's imperial palace. It is a huge complex of preserved wooden buildings and includes the largest wooden building in China. (As opposed to the Daibutsuden, or Great Buddha Hall in Nara that you may remember from my travels 3 years ago, which is supposedly the largest wooden structure in the world.)

We got there early, so it was crowded, but not crazy-crowded.

All of the stone details were beautiful and some of the paint had been restored. You can see in the pic below an restored section next to a repainted section.

We spent several hours wandering around the Forbidden City. The buildings were beautiful and we had a good time.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Entering the Forbidden City

Separating the Forbidden City from Tiananmen Square is the Tiananmen Gate. It is famous for the huge picture of Mao.

There were huge crowds, even early on a Sunday morning, and the police didn't want folks stopping for long amounts of time. "No photo, move on", yells the police officer.

This lovely garden was just beside the Tiananmen Gate and may have been considered a moat.

Tiananmen Square

Tiananmen Square is huge. According to Peggy, our tour guide, it's the largest public square in the world. Today it was closed off because the People's Congress is meeting at the People's Hall, which is the building with all of the flags below. There were tons of police all over the area also.

Back in Beijing

I'm back in Beijing again, this time for a whole week. I arrived last night along with two of my coworkers, Brett and Joe. Brett is a user researcher and Joe is an interaction designer. While we're looking forward to working, we're also looking forward to seeing some of Beijing. This is their first time to Beijing (and my second time.)