Tuesday, March 07, 2006

CHINA - Day One

Woo hoo am I OUT OF SHAPE. Luci and I went to the Forbidden City - an amazing, large place and we walked for a million miles. to think that we are going to the Great Wall tomorrow, I sure hope I don't die, either of exhaustion, or sheer embarrassment as little 80 year old ladies sprint to the top ahead of me.

Lying at the center of Beijing, the Forbidden City, called Gu Gong, in Chinese, was the imperial palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Now known as the Palace Museum, it is to the north of Tiananmen Square. The Forbidden City is divided into two parts.

Until 1924 when the last emperor of China was driven from the Inner Court, fourteen emperors of the Ming dynasty and ten emperors of the Qing dynasty had reigned here. Having been the imperial palace for some five centuries, it houses numerous rare treasures and curiosities. There are some amazing rooms that have been recreated behind windows and of course the dragon walk is amazing and the ceramic mural of dragons is really cool. But even the vastness of the place with all its mazelike walls that seem to go on forever and ever. and the colors of the walls, the doors, the textures are so rich.http://homepage.mac.com/wendymaruyama/PhotoAlbum38.html

As we staggered out of the Forbidden City looking for a place to eat or a taxi stand we kept walking over vast spaces through seas of men (hardly any women) and kept walking and walking and walking and walking and we suddenly realized we were in Tiananmen Square, Red Square, and the place where Mao's picture is hung for all to see, mole and all.

About the men - its amazing that this place is not crime-ridden as it is teaming with testosterone laden gangs of men (the one child rule + favoritism for male children) - these gangs are total scammers with nothing better to do but leer, scam try to sell crap or all of the above.

After Day One we are alive and well and hopefully lost a pound or two. It did feel good to have all the exercise and Luci was a good coach. She also made sure I didn’t fall into any manholes or trip over any steps. god I am such a klutz. I tripped over a threshold last night and another today. My biggest problem is that I am too busy looking around and not watching where I am going.


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