Tuesday, April 1, 2014

beijing de gushi: day two.

day two of beijing, weather-wise, was quite similar to the first day. not quite hot, but warm-ish enough that you get pretty warm walking around in a long-sleever. not quite cold, but if you stop & look at an old temple for long enough, you get a little chilly. but always, always smoggy - in that one can have everlasting faith.

soooooo, after these fascinating tidbits, let's continue, onward & blogward! our first stop was the forbidden city. on instagram i described it as a "fascinating, beautiful, mysterious, awesome tourist trap," & i still stand by that. the forbidden city has such an awesome history - some of it is still closed (or should i say "forbidden"? :) to tourists, all sorts of interesting political & historical things happened in the buildings there, it feels like it goes on forever - but we felt truly suffocated by how many people were there. you can sort of get an idea from some of these pictures, & we did try & venture off to some of the less-populated areas, which you also get an idea of from these pictures.

near the entrance:

pondering literary profundity as well as the overwhelming nature of the phrase "literary profundity."

luckily the forbidden city is large enough that you can kind of sneak away to quieter corners...also, FACE MASK:

it's interesting that you have amazing cultural relics of the forbidden city, with turned-up roof corners, vibrant colors, & rich history very reminiscent of chinese culture...yet right next door, almost literally, is tiananmen square, with its severe architecture, straight lines, & quasi-propaganda-ish feel reminiscent of a much different era.

just, i mean, throngs of people though:

are you feeling suffocated??:

can you see how the forbidden city is so large? all the roofs (rooves? :) in the background of this photo are within the walls of the city.

the chinese people are really good at naming stuff. i mean, really good - at least, translating from chinese into truly wondrous english. on this one pillar alone you got "gate of thriving imperial clan," "hall of supreme harmony," "hall of central harmony," "hall of preserving harmony," & "grand council of state." i'm thinking MORE buildings in the united states need to have these sorts of names, right???

found this lonely guy:

ben was getting so good at speaking chinese for some of our tasks - like buying tickets for stuff. i snapped this photo as he was ordering tickets for us to enter another part of the forbidden city. i would say i felt like a proud mother watching her child take its first few steps, but that would almost be a weird dynamic in which to throw my husband & myself, so i'll say it's more like i felt like a proud wife watching her husband learn the language she spent long, long, hard & awkward & blood-soaked & tearful hours (years, really) learning. but ben was also getting really good at nodding yes or no, pointing to stuff, & pointing to me in china, so there's that too. :)

b in front of a red d:

we saw a lot of trees that had wooden supports holding up their long, reaching branches:

these really, really interesting rock structures in the garden. we never did quite find out the story behind these, but they were dispersed all throughout the garden:

oh haha. so we were approached by several different groups of schoolkids wanting to take pictures with us. the first group was about 20 strong, & that must have given several other kids the courage to come up after they left & ask us, because we were standing & posing for about 15 minutes. we saw people taking photos with other americans that were wandering the garden as well - so you know it's definitely just a funny thing that happens. also - just like in taiwan, most school kids in china, even all the way through high school, wear uniforms, but they're not the typical school uniform of, like, plaid & collared shirts & slacks & that sort of thing. no, the chinese kid's school uniform is, like, a sweatsuit (i almost called it "loungewear," but ben asked, "isn't that lingerie..." but upon a deliberate google image search, "loungewear" could clearly mean either lingerie OR, like, sweats & stuff like that. your thoughts?? doesn't it kinda mean both?? the debate rages on). i knew a few missionaries that bought their own uniform from a local supplier, which i wish i would have done because dang, those things looked comfy:

another funny thing we passed on our way from the forbidden city to the subway was this michael jackson statue, just on the side of the road??!! who knew??!!

this was the entryway to our next stop, the lama temple. it's the largest tibetan-style buddhist temple outside of tibet, & it was lovely.

as seen at the lama temple: paper bills in the fountains...

& coins up top (see them there?)

okay, so then that night we tried out a restaurant called bellagio. although it sounds italian maybe, or like that one huge hotel in las vegas with the dancing fountains, it is neither! it is a place that serves legitimate taiwanese food, which, to my dismay, is so hard to find outside of taiwan. it was recommended to us by a friend, & i'm so glad we listened. i was in heaven. HEAVEN. here i am sipping on papaya milk, which i have (or had, that is) not had since coming home in 2010 but have always been on the lookout for. it's so, so delicious:

& delicious spicy beef noodle soup - isn't it just a thing of beauty, & so hearty-looking?? i want some more of it just looking at this picture:

we did a few other things this day that were not documented (getting massages being one of them...which we also did later in the week when i did take photos of it all, so i'll save talking about the exquisite pain that is a chinese massage until then). so for now, i'll say zai jian!

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