Monday, March 31, 2014

Beijing Day Two

The architecture of Beijing buildings is nothing short of spectacularly eclectic.  I hope you enjoy seeing some of these amazing and varied structures, most of which have been built in the last ten years.  The really odd Z-shaped building is the headquarters for China's satellite TV station and was the view from our 10th floor hotel room window.  On Day Two we climbed the Great Wall of China in the morning and toured a sacred tomb in the afternoon.  It was a long and quite rewarding day but I will cover that in a separate blog next. 

Beijing Day One

What a wonderful city this Beijing, China with it's crowded streets (five million cars) and twenty million residents.  We overnight here on the ship then disembark for a three-day tour of Beijing and a visit out to the Great Wall of China. There is so much information I would like to share about the politics, religion ( or lack of it) and culture of these great people I barely know where to start.  So because I know you like the pictures the best, I will just comment on the sights we visited and let the photos speak for now.

First up, Tiananmen Square, also known as the People's Square near the center of Beijing and across from the south end of the Forbidden City.  This huge public square is infamous for the "incident" which took place in June, 1989 where overwhelming force was used to quell a student protest.  Known in the west as the Tiananmen Square Massacre, such description or even public acknowledgement or discussion of the event is strictly forbidden. Estimates of the number of deaths range from hundreds to thousands, but the actual figures are unknown.  The famous photo of the lone man blocking the advance of a long line of tanks actually took place the day after the seven day long protest was quashed and was not in Tiananmen Square but on a wide boulevard on the north end of the square and about a quarter mile away.  Vicki and I have now stood in the two most famous squares of the Communist world, Red Square in Moscow and this one in Beijing. How many people can say that?

Next up, the Forbidden City.  This complex, again in the heart of Beijing, was the exclusive home of the Emperors of China.  No common people were allowed inside it's walls and it is protected by a moat, high, thick walls and floors that are twelve feet thick to prevent potential invaders from tunneling under the moat and up into the City.  The Emperor lived in the main structure with separate housing for his Empress and his 1,000 concubines. The oldest Emperor lived until age 86 but most of them died in their 30's....most likely from fatigue.

See the next post for the Buildings of Beijing and the China World Hotel, the Shangrala luxury hotel where we spent three fabulous nights while we toured this part of China.  Until next time,

God Bless you all.