Today it was off around more sights in Beijing. First we went to Tiananmen Square which is enormous and used mostly for public celebrations. It was not a public holiday in Beijing (although Good Friday in Australia) and not a weekend but the numbers of people there was amazing – and most of the groups were Chinese. There was a very long line to get into the mausoleum for past leader Mao but we didn’t go there. We crossed from Tiananmen Square via the subway to the gate of Heavenly Peace where Chairman Mao’s portrait hangs. The portrait is apparently a painting which is replaced every year according to our guide. Then further onward to the Meridian Gate which is the south end of the beginning of the Forbidden City and the streams of people kept happening.
The southern part of the Forbidden City was for the Emporer and business related to the emporer. The area of the Forbidden City is very very large (72 hectares) and so all of the visitors go in one direction, from the south to the north. This sort of organisation is a must when you consider the numbers of visitors and the chaos which would result if it wasn’t one-way. The northern end of the Forbidden City was for the wives and concubines of the emporer.
For lunch,our guide ordered us some typical localfood including fish in oil, a type of pork dumpling and shrimp – all of the dishes very “spicy” which in China appears to mean very much chilli.
In the afternoon, we spent time at the Summer Palace which is beautiful lakeside area of gardens and covered walkways. Apparently in the winter the lake ices over and people come there to skate. However, today it was again blue skies and warm so we took a boat across the lake. The blossums were out and there were again many people visiting the lake.
Late afternoon, we met up with our friend Pauline and took her off to have more Peking Duck!