Day 5 - The Forbidden City

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April 1st 2009
Published: April 20th 2009
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Today I went to the Forbidden City, which is situated directly north of Tian’anmen Square. We had to walk under an underground tunnel to get there and I saw a policeman chase after a young couple with a laser! There were also a lot of beggars; it is really awful to see and really upsetting. I forgot to mention that I saw a blind man playing a violin at the night market; he had a young boy (he looked about 2 years old) sitting beside him collecting money. I’ve noticed a lot of people looking through rubbish bins in China. Its quite common for them to come up to you and ask for your rubbish, especially empty plastic bottles.

The weather has changed significantly overnight, from freezing to about 30 degrees! A group of us decided to visit the Forbidden City, one of the five world famous palaces in the world (the other four are the Palace of Versailles in France, Buckingham Palace in the UK, the White House in the US and the Kremlin in Russia). We showed out Beijing Normal University student cards and got 75% discount on our ticket price. The Chinese are quite generous with student discount! The most useful Chinese word I have learned so far is “taiguile”, which means “too expensive”. You have to haggle for most things in China so I use about every hour of the day!

The Forbidden City was home to 24 emperors during the Ming and Qing dynasties. It is now a public museum, attracting tourists and also local residents. You could easily spend a whole day walking around. For some reason I had a lot of parents coming up to me and asking if I would pose for a photo with their child.

Before I left I watched a few video clips on youtube from the “Paul Merton in China” series. One of the episodes was about adoption in China. It’s the sort of activity that happens on the streets and in cafes! It’s apparently quite easy to buy a Chinese girl, which says so much about the role of women and the one child policy.

We got a ride home in this car thing. I really can’t describe it; have a look at the photo! It was one of the most funniest experiences EVER and also most dangerous! We drove along a main road in it and had to hold the door shut by a piece of string! We lived to tell the tale, that’s what you have to keep reminding yourself in China!

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21st April 2009

Posing with children?????????

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