Saturday, April 13, 2013

Experiencing History

Under cherry blossom tree at Summer Palace
The forbidden city and the summer palace was cool to see i'm still
excited to get Samuel.
Today was very interesting, the Forbidden City, Tianamen Square, and the summer palace all in one day. I feel like on this trip we are hearing a lot more about the history of these places, and doing less and less of the main touristy stuff. I think I like the summer palace the most because of the more nature-friendly atmosphere: the lake, the garden. It's a very nice walk along the lake and the breeze off of it is awesome! The Forbidden City is huge, and most people tend to go more on the main path-straight through-but I really liked it that we went to parts that weren't jam-packed with people. Three hour flight tomorrow, maybe I can finally shake this jetlag!
 ~ Courtney
And on to pictures!  Below is the entrance to the Forbidden City.  See all the people?  Yeah, we were feeling a little overwhelmed with the crowds today.  Fascinating place, though.  Everything is incredibly ornate, as this was a palace for the emporers. 
 For lunch, we had what they call Beijing noodles.  It took a few bites to get used to, but it really was good.  It was not a tourist place, but where locals eat.  That was fun. 
This is in front of the man made lake adjacent to the gardens of the Summer Palace.  It was beautiful here today with a nice breeze coming off the water.

 Tiananmen Square is just amazingly big.  This square can hold 1,000,000 people.  Today there weren't quite that many, but plenty crowded.  Lots of Chinese tourists, actually.
We were told this was a light day for Beijing traffic.  Mercy!  I have never experienced constant traffic like here.

 This photo was taken in the garden of the Forbidden City.  It was really pretty as well.
 Here's the sign of the day.  If you click on the picture, you will be able to see the sign above the shop door that reads, "God Save the Streaking."  What that means, I will never know.  The other funny today was on our menu at lunch.  I got a picture on my phone, but can't get it over to the computer.  In the description under a menu item, it said, "The city flavor explodes a belly."  Didn't want THAT to happen!
Sorry the pictures are kind of in random order.   We went to Tiananmen Square, then the Forbidden City, then lunch, and finally to the Summer Palace. This has certainly been an interesting couple of days in Beijing.  We have seen and heard a lot of history of this nation.   Always interesting to hear how the guide's view (and probably information) differs from ours on former rulers and leaders.   I am looking forward to going to Guangzhou tomorrow and getting ready to meet our son on Monday!  Indescribable.
Another fine day seeing the sights in Beijing.  I still get chills in Tiananmen Square, but I never said anything to our guide.  I hate to admit this, but the giant portrait of Chairman Mao on the North end of the square kind of gives me the creeps.  As the generations pass, it seems that Mao's legacy lessens.  The current generation doesn't worship him as a god as past generations have, but they still revere him as a great leader.  It's almost like they have never learned of his treachery and tyranny.  Yes, he did good things for the country, but at a large price of souls. 
The Forbidden City is incredibly rich in history.  It's amazing to see the rooms where emperors roamed so long ago.  The detail in the architecture is wonderful.  The extravagance is a little much for me, but you can appreciate the workmanship in the structures, furniture and belongings.
It was sad to exit the Forbidden City and run into beggars on the street.  Your heart breaks for them.  We ran across 3 or 4 in a row whose bodies were deformed and broken.  Sights that we just don't see back home.  It sure makes me thanksful to the Lord for His unending grace and mercy in our lives!
The Summer Palace is like a miniature Forbidden City in architecture and design, but I think we all preferred it.  The grounds were slightly less crowded than at the Forbidden City, and the highlights there are the beauty in the gardens and nice breeze coming off the lake.
Tomorrow is a travel day.  We fly to Guangzhou in preparation to get our son on Monday.  I can't can't get the images of those beggars out of my mind.  Lord willing, Samuel will never experience such an existence himself.  The reason we came here is fast approaching.  I think we're all nervous, but expectant.
~ Matthew
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11

1 comment:

  1. So excited for you to arrive in GZ! Wow, seeing the Square nearly empty is strange for me. It reminds me of when we visited in 2004 during the Moon Festival and it was literally shoulder to shoulder. Pretty sure there were 1,000,000 people there then!