This is our fourth day and last day in Beijing and we’re spending a good part of today just chilling at a local cafe. After the adventures of the past three days, its good to finally relax a bit, gather our thoughts, and prepare for the next leg of our trip, Xi’an.
The weather did finally clear up today because of the sudden rain last night. The city is not as smoggy/hazy looking anymore. Nice.
The Great Hall of the People. This is a huge meeting room where thousands of delegates representing all parts of China convene every year to discuss the political economic policies for the nation. The current five-year plan is themed the “harmonious society” – that is a marketing term used by Hu Jintao’s administration signifying its intent to push economic development more equally across all the regions of China in an effort to reduce the growing wealth disparity between rich urban areas and the much poorer rural areas.
The evening before, we happened to be in Tiananmen Square when the official flag lowering ceremony was being conducted. We thought it was going to be some sort of performance or fireworks show of some sort due to the sheer size of the crowd that had gathered to watch. All it turned out to be was a group of soldiers who marched out of the Forbidden City to lower the flag and bring it back inside. Wasn’t all that interesting, but apparently everyone in China knows about this little ceremony because it’s broadcast on national TV every night.
Johncai the revolutionary, faithful and true, saluting the flag although he’s facing away from it.
We entered the Forbidden City, a place that is really big. See this courtyard? This is right past the fourth gate. Behind every gate, there is very large courtyard, kind of like this. It took us around 20 minutes to walk back out of the city from the center garden area.
Inside the city: fun signs, part 2.
We visited the Tiantan, which is the temple complex where the Chinese emporors came and prayed for good harvest on a yearly basis. A building in there was called the “divine kichen.” Interesting.
Within the temple grounds, a lot of older people like to hang out playing cards and doing other things during the days. Some are even amateur opera singers – surprisingly, they’re really really good.