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Published: September 30th 2010
Hi all. Yes, still in Beijing with the plan being to leave yesterday. You see, there is this thing called National Holiday that starts October 1 for one week. Sure, I heard it could be busy but never thinking in the magnitude of this. Apparently everyone in China travels during the holiday, again, never thinking in this magnitude. In a country of 1.4 billion, even if only 10% travel, that's 140 million people doing essentially what I am. I tried to book my train ticket out four days prior to the date I needed, thinking four days is plenty, WRONG! So I'm here in Beijing until October 3rd which was the first empty seat on the train. Not a huge deal since I do have the time but I might not have tried to cram everything in during the first few days. It is a fun city and of all places to be in for an additional five days, this is a good one.
So enough of that, on to what I've seen since I last posted. I went to the Summer Palace, where the royal elite went to escape the heat of summer in the Forbidden City. It is
huge with a gigantic lake in the centre. Very pretty, and left little doubt why it was built. The funny thing is the empress who oversaw the building of it used money meant for the royal navy, quite the scandal, but when you're the empress, you can do whatever you want!
I've also been to the Lama temple, the most renowned Tibetan Buddhist temple outside of Tibet. I was able to sit in and listen while the monks chanted and prayed. Indescribable, really, just a moving experience.
I've also been to the Confucius Temple and Imperial college. And spent yesterday at the Temple of Heaven Park. A wondrous place, again, HUGE in acreage, with temples of prayer for good harvests just outside of the Forbidden City. Everything is so well preserved. Sure, some may have been restored or rebulit but it amazes me that throughout so many years, it still stands. Throughout wars, fires, internal rebellion, invasions, all of it, many structures still stand as they did back in time. Amazing! Pics to follow...
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