Mar 14, 2008
Mar 31, 2008
Today was a late start after the pretty exhausting day before. We had no tours planned, but we wanted to go to the Forbidden City and the Underground City. We took the train to the right station and didn't miss a few good snap opportunities before we entered. The Forbidden City is really a city, and to think that it was just for one man. He had a room for changing clothes, a room for selecting concubines, etc. It was astounding. This is the second time in as many years that we have visited the Forbidden City, but it is still as amazing as before. Now that it has been restored, the colours look absolutely amazing. The name, Forbidden City, although made up by Westerners, suits this place perfectly. When it was inhabited by the Emperor, it was absolutely forbidden to commoners. We went through the whole place, going in all the rooms and reading all the signs. We found some seats and sat down for a break. I looked over and noticed something...the other campus? The other Beaconhills campus, the Valley(Pakenham) had organised a China trip around this time, and I knew someone who was going, but they were travelling all around China in 2 weeks, so meeting them would be slim. Dad yelled out "Beaconhills!" to see if they would react, and to our surprise, the bewildered group turned around and waved. Their teacher approached us and asked how we knew who they were. We said that we were from the other campus, and they were so surprised. one of the teachers was a patient of dad's, but couldn't remember where she knew him from. He gave her hints, which didn't help until he said that he was a dentist. She was embarrased and immediantly knew. I saw my friend from the other campus, but she and I were both so stunned to see each other. We had seen each other a week or so before and jokingly said "well, I'll see you there!" After the coincidence, we walked in seperate ways. We explored more, until we reached the end. We walked right back to the entrance, so that we could cross the road to Tian'anmen Square. We had walked so far that our feet were killing us. Tian'anmen Square had random bag checks at the entrance, and there were police everywhere. It was good, but we didn't go in to Chairman Mao's burial place, which was only open in the mornings. We were walking around the square for while, talking about Mao and Chinese history in Tian'anmen Square, like the rallies. From there, we wanted to find the Underground City. The Underground City is the bomb shelter built underground for 6 million people many years ago. It would be used if a nuclear war broke out. i read somewhere that foreigners know more about the Underground City than the locals do, and this proved right as we walked 12kms to try and find it without success. We had been sent in many different directions, with some people sending us in the direction of a theatre instead. We found ourselves outside the Temple of Heaven. We had some trouble buying the tickets as we didn't know if we wanted to buy an 'entrance' or 'through' ticket. We sorted out the drama with the help of a tourist guide. We walked inside and admired the gardens. We walked towards the actual temple and walked inside. The temples had obviously been restored recently, as the colours were shiny and bright. The furniture inside was beautiful. The temple was for parsing to god of heaven and to pray for good harvests. We spent a fair bit of time there, reading all about it, and going to all the little temples nearby. The architecture was amazing on all of them. We hopped in taxis, and went back home. We had McDonalds for dinner again. The manager knows us now.