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china Travel

THE FORBIDDEN CITY AND THE SQUARE OF HEAVENLY PEACE

Today was a day of great wandering!

The Imperial Palace, known as “The Forbidden City” is really impressive! There was a lot to see, I got very tired, it’s a real little town inside the walls. There was also both very, very many tourists and many Chinese. At the entrance there was a large portrait of Mao Zedong, the great dictator of Chinese communism, hero to many and tyrant to others, founder of Maoism, far-left communism.

During the five centuries of operation it housed fourteen emperors of the Ming dynasty and ten of the Qing dynasty until 1912, portrayed in the excellent film “The Last Emperor” (Emperor Puyi). The complex has 800 buildings and almost 9,000 rooms in its 720 km² enclosed within the walls. The palace took 14 years to build and employed 200,000 workers, ending in 1420 A.D. It has a museum and several treasures, rich in architectural, cultural and artistic details. It is the largest palace in the world and was listed by UNESCO in 1987.

Tiananmen Square was also huge and full of Chinese, I had never seen so many in my life!!! It is right in front of the Forbidden City, just crossing an avenue of twelve or fourteen lanes. In the Square or surrounding it are statues, museums, monuments, memorials and a plaque counting down to the Olympics in Beijing 2008.

The largest square in the world, ironically called the 40-acre Tiananmen Square, was the scene of the massacre of Chinese intellectuals, students and workers in peaceful protests for democracy, against corruption, inflation and unemployment between April and June 1989, during a visit by Russian President Mikhail Gorbatchev. Of course, other protests were taking place in parallel in other major cities in China. No one knows for sure how many were cowardly killed by the tanks and machine guns of the Chinese military, which by the way, were divided, some were sympathizers to the movement, because the government omits and manipulates information, estimates range from three hundred to ten thousand dead. Many innocent people are imprisoned to this day. At the time, some Chinese communities in Europe, Canada and the U.S., as well as Taiwan and Hong Kong, also joined the protests.

I also went to a “cool little park”, the 70 hectares Beihai Park, north of the Forbidden City, the park had a lake, a temple, a Tibetan white pagoda and three islets.

At night, in Wang Fu Jing I only had the courage to eat the seahorse skewer, by the way tasteless and dull, had no meat only bones. I ate another skewer too, I think it was sparrow, with head and everything!

Here in China it’s all very dirty, the “Chinese” has no notion of hygiene and education, spit, burp and fart without fear of being judgement, besides leaving the filthy city of garbage, manage to be rude, stupid and super rude. Bathrooms… no comments, worse than you can possibly imagine! And because of the 2008 Olympics, the government is running etiquette and education programs so as not to shock foreigners. Traffic is chaotic, car does not respect pedestrian, nor two or three-wheeled vehicles and vice versa, red sign here means that the car can walk, but the pedestrian take care! One should look in all directions to cross the street, as car comes in the opposite direction, front, back, sides and diagonals. A real adventure! Pedestrian signs here are merely ornamental.

By Traveler Ni

I have traveled the world for the past two decades and recorded my experiences. Come join me on my travels and plan your own adventure.

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