Sunday, August 30, 2009

China Family Trip - Beijing Day 3

It's ~8:30pm and I'm sitting in my hotel room while everyone else went out for a late dinner. I think I walked too much today and did something to my right ankle. I'm trying to rest up for our trip to the Great Wall tomorrow.

Today was a lot of walking... I think that's the theme for every trip to Asia. We made sure that Tiananmen Square was open today and took a cab to Qianmen like we planned yesterday. As soon as we stepped out of the cab, we were assaulted by vendors trying to sell us hats and "tour guides" asking us where we were headed. Security was heavy and they shut down access to all the "gate" buildings. They also blocked access to some areas of Tiananmen Square. There was a huge line to get into Mao's memorial hall but none of us were really interested.

Qianmen... we tried so hard to get here yesterday via the subway. It was closed to tourists until after October 1st.

There was a lot of security at Tiananmen Square. In addition to the regular army guards, there was the police, the armed police, public safety, and of course, the chengguan. This is typically translated as city manager but in reality, they're mostly there to clear away street vendors. They have a nasty reputation in many cities of just beating up people who resist being "cleared" away and there have been a lot of conflicts.

A lot of real estate was blocked off in the square. I was able to get much closer even during the Paralymics last year.

Food truck. They weren't getting harassed by the chengguan so maybe they're legit. Can I get a burrito please?

At this point, my dad wasn't feeling well we gave him some RMB bills and he went back to the hotel. It was a wise decision since we ended up walking a lot. Next was crossing the street and into the Forbidden City. This is the third time I've been here.

Another obligatory shot. It still looks the same as last year.

I took a lot of "standard" photos but also some of other people taking pictures. Here is a random girl posing. Her boyfriend also took some "wannabe cool" photos afterward.

After exiting the back of the Forbidden City, we walked to Beihai Park. Along the was, we stopped in a local restaurant for lunch.

Dumplings with leeks(?) and eggs. We also had some noodle dishes. Interestingly, their version of some dishes was more Korean than Chinese.

We rented a six passenger electric boat and cruised the lake for a bit. Here is Google Maps on my Blackberry showing us to be in the middle of Beihai lake.

The white-thingy building as seen from the middle of the lake.

It was hard to find an available taxi after Beihai Park so my friend and I ended up on the bus. It's much cheaper but it ended up dropping us off on Wangfujing so it took us another 20 minutes to walk back to our hotel.

An orthodox church. A couple was taking wedding photos in front of the church building.

Ferrari and Maserati dealer next to our hotel. I heard that there is a Ferrari dealer in Chengdu and they only sold one car in 2008. Hope there was a lot of margin dollars in the final price.

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