Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Square of the Gate of Heavenly Peace

So after we finished the 5K part of the marfon, we took the bus back into Beijing and slept a lot :) The next day, we once again joined You Don't Know Jack for a tour of some of Beijing's major landmarks, beginning with Tiananmen Square.

This was taken across the street from the square, we never really did figure out what all the lines were for but there were people everywhere.

These statues are right in front of the mausoleum of Chairman Mao. Of course, I learned that from my handy-dandy guide book and not our actual tour guide, who told us absolutely nothing about Tiananmen Square. To be honest, I'd rather expected that, even if we'd had a good tour guide. China doesn't want to discuss what happened here in 1989. The Square is under very heavy surveillance too, thanks to about a zillion cameras on the lamp posts as well as a lot of police.

I *think* this is the Great Hall of the People, where the Chinese legislature meets. At least, it looks a lot like the picture in the guide book ;)

Right behind Missy is the "Monument to the People's Heroes", which (according to my guide book) was erected in 1958 and is decorated with scenes from China's revolutionary history. We didn't get to see it (or pretty much anything else) up close.

This is the China National Museum, which we didn't get to go to. The Square is huge; you can't really get a sense of its size from the photographs, but I can tell you that I had no trouble believing that it can hold thousands upon thousands of people.

This is the Tiananmen Gate that leads to the Forbidden City, and it's also the site from which Mao proclaimed the founding of the People's Republic of China. Even now you see his picture everywhere in China.

And we took pictures of ourselves everywhere in China :)

You can see some of the security cameras on that lamp post to the right (click on the photo to see it larger).

You Don't Know Jack, our tour guide, practically had us sprint across the square so we could get to our tour of the Forbidden City (which we also raced through, much to our dismay). We would have liked more time to look around at stuff but he kept saying we didn't have time. We did, however, have enough time for him to shepherd the tour group together to get in a group photo, which he then tried to sell us for an exorbitant price. Most of the group declined.

One more photo of my sweetie pie just 'cause I think he's cute :) As I'm sure you could figure out, my next batch of China photos will be of the Forbidden City, but that will have to wait until sometime next week. We leave tomorrow morning for mainland Japan...we're going to climb Mount Fuji this weekend with Missy and Bennet. I'm not really looking forward to it since I don't much go for all this strenuous outdoor activity, so the other three have promised to take me to Disney Sea (it's a Disney theme park in Tokyo) after we climb the mountain. Heh. They know how to bribe me.

So barring any catastrophes like getting lost on the way up (or down) Mount Fuji, I'll be back next Wednesday with more pictures, or at the very least I'll post something on here so you'll know we all made it safely.


Amber Hight said...

Fab pictures, as usual! I'm exhausted just from HEARING about this trip! Oh and I fully expect to see a crafty project on your blog sometime in the near future, mmmkay? China is great and all, but I miss your cards;)
Have fun on Fuji! Glad it's you and not me, ha!

CCsMom said...

I am sure thinking of you -- it's near noon, so I wonder where you are. I read up some on the trek up the mountain -- and they say you go from summer to winter and that the wind gusts near the top can be pretty fierce. Hmmm, I'm hoping you took your long johns. Yes, it's a mother thing. But it will be awesome. One of the sites said just being there with so many people from all over the world will be something (like your time on the Great Wall, I'm sure). Anyway, can't wait to hear. Love you!

Alexis said...

I'm so Jealous that you get to go to Disney Sea!!! John promised me that if we went back to Kuwait he'd take me. We went back, he didn't take me. Hmpf. Someday!!

Giffysk8s said...

Have fun climbing. Have fun at Disney Sea, too!!!