Tuesday, November 6, 2012

the end of china

to take our minds off the election results (which are coming in painfully slowly, i might add), here are some more pictures of china!

our last stop was beijing and we were pretty wiped out when we got there, so we just stuck with the major attractions and ate our breakfasts at mcdonald's.

in an exciting/annoying/overwhelming twist, we were in beijing on national day. the upside of hitting beijing on a national holiday was that all the nearby factories were closed so the air quality was only terrible instead of deadly. the downside of being in beijing on a national holiday was that about 1 billion chinese people were there as well, so everywhere we went was really crowded. i mean, really crowded.

but, that's all part of the adventure, right?

tiananmen square was appropriately packed and decorated for the occasion.

{mao's masoleum, where the rumor is that it is actually a wax figure and not really the chairman on display. a rumor that's hard to verify since the building is only open for two hours every day}

the forbidden city was elbow-to-elbow. it was also the scene of one of the more interesting chinese phenomenons that we observed. chinese people love to gather around museum displays, shove people out of the way, take a photo of whatever treasure is in the glass case, and then rush off to the next display without even taking a very good look. it was weird. i made myself very unpopular by lingering in front of display cases and taking my time admiring. i did not care.

either way, the forbidden city was a vast and charming place. we closed it down, which meant we even had a few non-overcrowded moments among the splendor.

and, to get the whole imperial experience, we spent a morning in the temple of heaven park and made an afternoon escape to the summer palace.

other beijing highlights included street vendor cotton candy approximately three times bigger than my head and an awesome hotel housed on a compound that was once the courtyard residence of a high-ranking dynasty eunuch. i actually could have lived at that hotel for the rest of my life and been pretty content.

i'll admit that beijing wasn't our favorite stop, but it was totally worth it for the piece de resistance: a trip to the great wall. it has been one of my lifelong dreams to set foot on the great wall and it was so surreal to be there. surreal and awesome. we hired a car to drive us the two hours or so to the mutianyu portion of the wall, hiked our hearts out for three hours, and came home tired and happy.

and that, my friends, is a perfect trip to china.


SRA said...


Evan and Holly said...

I saw Mao, you can't stop to look you have to keep walking so it is really hard to know if he is wax. The Forbidden City is fabulous, thank you "The Last Emperor" movie for paying to restore so much of it. Love the Temple of Heaven, made without one single nail. Love the Summer Palace, I see you saw the marble boat that they say bankrupted a close to broke China (talk about bad economic decisions). Did you see the island where the Empress Dowager imprisoned her son and then poisoned him the day before she died...so he wouldn't succeed her of course. I love Chinese history. I also love the Great Wall...it is just so great and vast and awesome. I am so glad you went to China. I love that place---although it didn't seem that crowded to me from the pictures :)

Susan said...

Frances! You are just adorable and adventurous and it warms my heart to see your smiling faces! Glad you write this awesome blog. xo Suz