Saturday, July 9, 2011

North East China: Tiananmen Square, The Great Wall, and the Forbidden City, It's Beijing!

Although Beijing has more cultural attractions and places to sight see, me and the wife definitely liked Shanghai better.  Shanghai was cheaper and had more "flavor".  Never the less you can't go to China and skip Beijing.  We visited Tiananmen Square and made our way northwards.  I had no idea how large Tiananmen was.  It's quite literally, for lack of a better word, humongous.  After we made our way through the square we began exploring the Forbidden City, which, just like Tiananmen is expansive.  They weren't kidding when they named it a city.  Unfortunately for us the entire time we were in Beijing a thick mist seemed to hang over the city, giving it a brooding somber feeling.
I saw this little girl with the bright yellow umbrella making her way through the crowd and just loved the scene.  The picture turned out pretty good don't you think.
Even though the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square are the marquee sites in Beijing I personally enjoyed the Lama Temple much more. 
Some beautiful incense being burned at the Lama temple.
It's a large temple dedicated to Tibetan Buddhism.  Extremely well preserved and a pristine example of Tibetan architecture.

The Lama Temple.
A Tibetan Prayer Wheel.
  After me and Chantra visited the sites in the city proper we ventured outwards to experience the real reason we came to Beijing.  The Great Wall.  So we hopped on one of the local buses, crowded beyond belief as usual, and headed to one of the truly magnificent ancient structures.  I was so excited to see this marvel of human ingenuity, to stand in the presence of this remarkable tribute to the greatness of the human mind and will.  So let's just say I was a little more than disappointed when I got to the Great Wall and found a long street full of vendors selling cheap souvenirs to the throngs of tourists.  Instead of the Great Wall, I found the great wall of tourists.  This sucks.  The wall was packed nearly end to end with tourists.  However, me and Chantra wouldn't let this deter us from having the experience we wanted.  So we picked a direction with the least tourists and started walking.  I mean, if you walk far enough there's gotta be a place with some privacy.  I mean this thing is like a 1000 kilometers long right?  So we hiked and we hiked and after about 30 or 45 minutes the crowd actually started to thin.  People started turning around and there were moments of pristine quiet.  We kept at it an eventually we got far enough away that there wasn't barely another soul in sight.  We had finally found our own private piece of the Great Wall.  And let me tell you it was worth the hike. Just to be able to stand there and enjoy the moment in perfect serenity.  We found an empty parapet, sat down on some crumbling stones, and enjoyed a nice picnic.  Can't wait to see what happens next.
We actually walked far enough along the Great Wall to get a little corner of it to ourselves.
Check out Chantra's Matrix pose.

Hi Yah!
I just thought this was a cute picture.  Come on now a matching family?  :)

Check it out.  She's rockin the shades with no lenses!

Chinese style ramen with a citrus beef stir fry.

Live scorpion skewers.  They deep fry them and then you enjoy.

Chinese Opera Performer.

Wangfujing food street.  Total tourist trap with way inflated prices.  But its cool just to go see all the weird food.

A Chinese kid Cosplaying as Sasuke from the manga Naruto.

The Square leading up to the Lama Temple.

Just enjoying the view.

Love this shot. 

View of the Forbidden City from Jingshan Park.

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