Monday, May 9, 2011

China Post #14 Forbidden City

On Sunday in Beijing we did a walking, mostly tour. After walking one of the original streets in the city we rented a bike instead of taking a rickshaw to do a tour of a hutong. This was a terrifying experience since the cranks are not connected meaning that either rider can coast or peddle at any time so one ride may be leaning right while the other is leaning left to push on the peddles. Now I'm really curious how riding a regular tandem would be.
It seemed as though any time Linda really tried to push on the peddles she would pull on the handle bars making the bike try to swerve out from under us and when I tried to correct for this I discovered that the bar was not tight and I could rotate it forward and backward, the brake levers as well. Eventually we got the hang of things and we stayed upright the whole time, though I did not get much of a chance to look around. Dylan loved it though so that makes it worth while.

After the excitement of the ride we got lunch at a noodle house and tried fried noodles, boiled noodles and steamed noodles.Here is Dylan with a noodle mustache, naturally.
Next we headed to a park were we could get an overview of the Forbidden City. Along the way we passed a nut stand that is known for having great roasted chestnuts. There was a good sized line but Linda wanted to try some so we waited. They were quite good, kind of an interesting taste. Here is Linda all happy with her purchase.
Once we got to the park where we could get the overview I was confronted with this. The Chinese, maybe all asian cultures since when we were in SE asia there were lots of stairs as well, love their stairs. I'd recommend anyone who is coming to China to walk stairs at least a couple of times a week, maybe 20 floors a day to begin with or maybe it's the fact that I have Dylan on my back for all this.
Anyway, here is Dylan hiding while we get our picture taken at the high point of the park right in line with the center of the Forbidden City.
The park and the overview is definitely worth while and we can't imagine not doing one without the other. After looking around and getting an idea of the layout of the entire city, Beijing, we headed down more stairs to the entrance to the Forbidden City. It had started to rain when we were looking around from the top of the park so here are a bunch of umbrellas entering the Forbidden City.
From the entrance we took we were in the garden first. There were these sculptures which are supposed to be some sort of magical offspring of the dragon, similar to a unicorn.
One amazing thing about the garden s that everywhere you walk there are all these tiny inlayed pebbles to make panels with pictures. I actually think that the rain made them easier to see.
It seems that they really should restrict people from walking on the tiles but then there would be no room to walk so eventually all the pebbled will be broken out from people walking on them. Here further in is a huge slab of marble that has been carved twice, once over a previous carving. It is about 36m by 3.5m.
Here's Dylan and I just outside of the ceremony temple with dragon head water spouts in teh back ground.
Another view of the water spouts, it was not raining enough but they still run. It would look pretty cool to see all the dragons spitting water from their mouths.
A pulled back view of the ceremony temple.
Here is a video of what Dylan discovered that he could do in the borrowed baby backpack. Though later he tried to go in reverse and tipped backwards, though without getting hurt since the back sticks up behind his head.
video

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