Yesterday, (actually 2 weeks ago) Tuesday in Beijing the weather was perfect, mid 60's to 70's and blue skies. We took in the Hutong area on our first outing leaving in heavy traffic around 9:00 am. We had a rickshaw tour through the alleys of households that dated back to the Ming dynasty. This was a chance to see the ancient lifestyle that still exists today, despite the Olympic building program and an increase in high rise contruction..bikes everywhere, cars all over and lots of places in reconstruction..property goes for outrageous prices..in the millions for an apartment. Many share bathrooms and are lucky to have a place here.
From there we got dropped off and hiked to the Drum Tower (google it) and ancient time keeping building..the spot of the Bachman tradgedy in the 08 Olympics..Later we had lunch with a family..Homemade dishes spun around on a Lazy Susan..needless to say it made many stops in front of me..I am getting pretty good at the use of chop sticks..We got back to our hotel to check out around 2:00 pm and then off to Tian'men Square..the largest public square in the world..The square was filled with people and guards were scattered about. The size of the square is staggering and the huge screen depicting scenes from China was the screen seen during the Olympics. Across the way is the Forbidden City. Commoners were forbidden to enter and would be punished by death. It was home of the Ming and Qing dynasty emperor till the end of the Ming Dynasty in 1911. A day here might be enough to see all the courtyards and art collections. We had about 2 hours..then were off to Pearl City where shops are pilled on one another and bargaining is a blast..Later we had dinner and then made our way to the train station..Will down load some photos later... the food has been outstanding...I need to watch myself. Tom