Wednesday, May 20, 2009

blazin' beijing 2

Beijing is the seat of the Imperial dynasties of long ago, and also center of the current government of China. If you're in beijing, it's imperative to visit the historical sites. You don't go to Beijing without learning a thing or two about chinese history.

We started out early in our second day, we were told to be in comfortable walking shoes, bring water; there will be long walks ahead. Our destination was Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City.

Tianamen Square as touted by our tourist guide as the biggest square in the world. Bigger than Trafalgar in London. However, when you're in Tiananmen, and you see the huge crowd of chinese people, the square doesn't look huge at all.

The scene especially the snaking lines around the Mao Zedong memorial, constantly remind me that China is the world's most populous country. According to Tony, our tour guide, if we wanted to see the unspoiled remains of mao, we need to fall in line for a whole day!

Even after 20 years or so, discussions over what transpired during the student crackdown at tiananmen square, remains hush-hushed. Our tour guide boasts that he was one of the students, but he can't say how many students were exactly killed because there were several instances, wherein civilians were either called for questioning or subjected torture, with the slightest rumour-mongering about the incident.

Ever wonder why the photo of Chairman Mao doesn't fade after all these years? Well, apparently, it's replaced with a new one, every year during their anniversary, with its exact replica by the same painter!

From the tiananmen square, we passed thru an underpass to enter the gates of Forbidden City (which is behind the photo of Chairman Mao)There are total of 4 gates, and the distance from each gate is quite far, about half a width of football field to a length of one football field!

There are so many tales, anecdotes, myths inside Forbidden City. The extreme weirdness of some e.g. the emperor has 13,000 concubines cannot be passed-up. A tour guide is a must! But if you want to be on your own, you can lease headsets which has pre-recorded narratives the whole experience. Costs about 50RMB You can select the language you want, I noticed there are Tagalog versions. I think it's more comprehensive though not interactive than being with a tour guide, you can linger, and go along at your own pace. I would love to do it again in the future, coz I love history!