Trip Start Oct 07, 2009
18Trip End Oct 24, 2009
It was somewhat surreal as we walked up to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. You see it in the news and in print, but to be there in person was awesome. The place was huge! We first spent time in the square learning about the history and taking pictures. The tour guides were excited since it was less crowded than expected.
We took an underground passage to the Forbidden City and the crowds were much greater here
We boarded our bus and we were off to lunch. We had lunch at Dasanyuan which was by a man-made lake. The food was a specialty of southern china and was delicious. Again the food was served family style, they kept bring dishes to the center of the table and everyone takes their chopsticks and helps themselves. We tried more of the local beer. Very good. Very light.
After lunch it was back to the hotel for some free time. We decided to try and find an old fashioned pharmacy (containing a large wall with hundreds of small wooden drawers containing Chinese herbs and medicines), so the guides sent us to an area where there was a pedestrian shopping area. We found a pharamacy but it was now modern, not quite what we were looking for. We also found China's version of the Dollar Store spread thoughout the area. The pressure to buy in this area was not as great as the Silk Market. We walked over to the Union Station to try and see the replica of the city, however it was closed. We took a taxi back to the hotel. The taxi's are quite an experience. Very assertive drivers! Our driver didn't quite know where the hotel was, so we had to help guide him. It worked, we made it back :)
We met up with our group at 5:30PM for some Arts & Crafts. They tought us how to write our names in Chinese Calligraphy, made small kites, and painted some masks. It was fun & interesting. We got to fly our kites inside and they both worked! We decided to leave them behind, as the suitcases are already full.
We had dinner in the same room, this was actually the Welcome Dinner. Food was good and right after dinner we had some of the Beijing Opera come in and entertain us for a bit. This was an acrobatic type show which was very lively and entertaining.