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22 September 2010

my Beijing trip – part 1

By Lee


I had never thought of travelling to Beijing until that day came when my grandma said that she wishes all of the family members go to Beijing together. She went to China a few times before this, but was mostly on visiting her siblings. When my 70-years old grandma requested us to accompany her to go together, it’s of no reason that we can say no because we will never know if this wish is the last one ~ so although I’ve got lots of work and it’s not so good for me to take long leave at this moment, but I still say sorry to my boss … *frankly I like travelling a lot ….I just afraid my boss might be unhappy ~. ~

So the day anticipated had finally come. 6 hours of long haul flight was quite exciting because this was the first time I boarded Air Asia X. Sitting at the middle of the plane made me feels good. I like to look at the flaps of the aircraft’s wing and listen to the sound of the gear being retracted and imagine the pilot’s control. Just don’t know when can I enroll flying academy ~

After reaching Tianjin, we took a bullet train to Beijing. Its 333km/h speed made the journey from Tianjin to Beijing looks very short. Our first day ends with dinner at Beijing. Talking about food, it makes me feel happy. Well, as Beijing is famous for its roast duck, so of course we had to try it! But if you ask me, I should say that the way of eating roast duck is quite special but the taste itself … frankly IMHO I don’t think what’s so special =p

When started to talk about food then I can’t stop. One of our meals was the SICHUAN YAN (the food in Si Chuan, China). It’s known to all that they like spicy food very much, and I anticipated it very much. The first dish doesn’t make sense what’s so-called spicy, neither was the second dish, but after I ate ten dishes, I was sweating in the air-conditioned restaurant. That’s the special thing about Si Chuan dishes.

Another meal we’ve got buffet lunch and we need to roast everything ourselves. Yes the lunch was very nice. Besides chicken and lamb, they’ve got sausages, beef, pork, prawn and clam. They are also some other dishes like sushi, the “Korean cabbage “, few types of salads, cakes and pastries and so on. One thing that I want to mention is their ice-cream. The ice-cream was quite difficult to melt until I ate the ice-cream using a chopstick.

Basically all our meals contains of 10-12 dishes, and in every meal all of us was trying our best to finish the dishes but couldn’t. Moreover, the dishes cannot be taken home by our tour guide so it’s such a waste. Imagine these food are given to the famines … oh, I really feel sorry for them. So much food are wasted here but there people are starving …

OK come back to our trip here. So after breakfast on the second day then only we considered started our trip. Beijing, which is the capital of the People’s Republic of China, is the nation’s political, economic, cultural, educational and international trade and communication center. It also serves as the most important transportation hub and port of entry in China. According to the tour guide, Beijing is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with about 140 million Chinese tourists and 4.4 million international visitors in a year. Basically Beijing children have got two semesters. The first holiday is their summer holiday which lasts from early July until September whereas their winter holiday lasts for about 20 days.

The first destination we went was the Tian’An Men Square and the Forbidden City. It was crowded with tourists. We were told that the best tourist season to Forbidden City is from late March to early June and from late August to late November. So we were in middle of it. Lying at the center of Beijing, the Forbidden City, called Gu Gong in Chinese, was the imperial palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Now known as the Palace Museum, it is to the north of Tiananmen Square. Rectangular in shape, it is also the world’s largest palace complex and covers 74 hectares.

Have you ever wondered how many rooms are there in a palace? 9999 rooms! Can you imagine it? This is because according to ancient Chinese, the emperor is the son of God and God has got 10,000 rooms, so as a son, the emperor can only have 9999 rooms. It’s said that if a baby is to live in each different room or one day since he’s born, he will be 27 years old when he had lived in every room for only a day!

The Forbidden City is divided into two parts. The southern section or the Outer Court was where the emperor exercised his supreme power over the nation. The northern section or the Inner Court was where he lived with his royal family. There are unique and delicately structured towers on each of the four corners of the curtain wall. These afford views over both the palace and the city outside. It was listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 1987and now it’s one of the most popular tourist attractions world-wide. Having been the imperial palace for some five centuries, it houses numerous rare treasures and curiosities.

Ancient Chinese people displayed their very considerable skills in building the Forbidden City. Take the grand red city wall for example. It has an 8.6 meters wide base reducing to 6.66 meters wide at the top. The angular shape of the wall totally frustrates attempts to climb it. The bricks were made from white lime and glutinous rice while the cement is made from glutinous rice and egg whites. These incredible materials make the wall extraordinarily strong.

Ok come back here. At the north end of the Tian’An Men Square is Tiananmen Tower. The most important use of it in the past was to declare in a big ceremony to the common people who became the emperor and who became the empress. Until 1911 when the last feudal kingdom was over, no one could enter the Tower except for the royal family and aristocrats.

The granite Monument to the People’s Heroes is just at the center of the Tiananmen Square. It is the largest monument in China’s history. ‘The People’s Heroes are Immortal’ written by Chairman Mao is engraved on the monument.

West of the Square is the Great Hall of the People. It is the site of the China National People’s Congress meetings and provides an impressive site for other political and diplomatic activities.
Memorial Hall of Chairman Mao is at the south side of the Square. Chairman Mao’s body lies in a crystal coffin in one of the halls surrounded by fresh bouquets of various famous flowers and grasses.

ok enough of forbidden city … part 2 coming soon ~ hehe