Thursday, July 7, 2011
Day 4 - Thursday, July 7, 2011
Rickshaw drivers - just like a 1930s Hollywood movie
Early the next morning we all met for breakfast and then headed out on our day of mega touring - Forbidden City, lunch in the Hutongs and a visit to the silk factory.
We started our tour with Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. It was so amazing to walk through there. The square is the largest in the world and can hold up to 1 million people for a variety of ocasions, or something like the horrible events of 1989, which I thought about a lot. But it is really impressive. Then the Forbidden City you are walking in the steps of the old Emperors up to 500 years ago. I kept thinking of the scenes from the movie, The Last Emperor:) It's incredible to be walking through this historic place.
But there were also thousands of people, literally, and it was almost 100 degrees, so after a while, I just hit the wall and couldn't really enjoy it anymore no matter how great. Chinese people were walking around with umbrellas to shade them from the heat which added to all the chaos.
The beginning was incredible, though, when you first enter. It's pretty overwhelming.
Impressive and imposing Tiananmen Square
Our guide in Tiananmen Square with the ever present panda to lead us:)
Mao and the entrance to the Forbidden City
Everyone with their umbrellas at the entrance to the Forbidden City
Crowds of people in 90 degree heat!!
After the Forbidden City, we went to the Hutongs and took a rickshaw ride to our lunch destination. This truly made me feel like I was in a 1930s movies with rich Americans or British Imperialists in India and China. They're always shouting "Richshaw, Lady" as they pass; just like the old films:) But what can you do? It's how they make a living from tourists. The best was that sellers of purses or other things would bike up next to us and try to sell their goods while still on the bike and while we were riding. That's dedication:)
A new way to sell goods on the street - ride up right next to you!
For lunch, we ate in a private house in the hutongs. We had a delicious lunch of dumplings, rice and vegetables. Afterwards, the host showed us how to make the dumplings and gave us a chance at it as well.
After lunch, our last stop was at the silk factory where they showed us the whole process of taking silk worms and turning the silk into something they can use for sheets and comforters. Actually, it was quite interesting, and our guide was such a good saleswoman, many people came away with some comforters to take home!
Pulling the silk out in many layers to make a comforter