Dear Matt and Mar,
[09.08.18] In the previous post, the reason I said I had misjudged all the timing was simply because I did not anticipate the amount of people nor the security checks at all the major tourist spots, combining the two meant super long and slow queues.
Overseas travelers were far and few, the bulk of the tourists were domestic tourists, of course with 1.4 Bn people, most of them would want to visit their capital city. I loved it, but I think you two were a little overwhelmed especially on your first day.
For the first proper day, we had planned for something light, but as it turned out the queue and heat did put some strain on our first outing, haa haa haa. First stop, by far the lowest hanging fruit, Tiananmen square. How hard could that be as a trip? Essentially it is just an open slab of concrete, a huge open square surrounded on all sides by roads.
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Wow, I could not have been more wrong! We got off at Tiananmen East Underground Station, that literally took us a stone throw away from our destination. But as soon as we made it to the surface, all we saw was an ocean of people, as well as a long queue at the security check before entering the square.
What else was we to do, we queued, haa haa haa, with only 2 security machines you can guess how fast we were moving, haa haa haa. But all credits to you two, you were brilliant, and finally we made it through the queue, only to be met by an even bigger crowd, haa haa haa.
Unlike our previous Korea trip, this time I made the effort to take the tripod, although it was a bit of a pain but as it turned out, it was absolutely worth it. I did my best to explain the history of the square, but the heat, the noise, the crowd was a little much, and soon we were off to the next destination, the National Museum of China.
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National Museum of China
More security check and more queue, as I was putting my rucksack into the x-ray machine, the lady took a look at my tripod and told me to leave the building, haa haa haa, only to found out later she meant for me to drop off tripod at the side office (for a fee) before entering into the museum.
I have never seen a busier museum, and we’ve been to many, many museums, every country we visited we always make an effort to visit their National Museum, from Singapore to Rome. The amount of people were amazing but with hindsight not surprising, the various exhibitions were fantastic but the atmosphere was a little too hectic for me, haa haa haa.
So after visiting all the highlights in the museum we cut the trip short once more, so where to next? It was not even lunch time, haa haa haa. The next logical place to visit was the Temple of Heaven as it was only a few stops (Underground) away.
Walking out we found a small crowd gathering around this old-ish lady, of course she was selling ice lollies, how could we refuse, Mar was the first person to gave it back to us, whilst Matt was loving it. After a quick taste we were not surprised, essentially it was frozen sugar water on a stick… haa haa haa.
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Temple of Heaven
Guess what, there was no queue, haa haa haa, the ticketing office was virtually empty, perhaps because it was closer to noon and most of the visitors would have come in the morning, well for whatever reasons, we were not complaining.
What gets me every time is the size of the place, huge vast grounds spotted with fantastic historical buildings, what was not to like... haa haa haa. By now my Tripod skill have reached the ‘Master’ Status, in less than 25 seconds it was all ready to shoot lol.
It was perfect timing when we found a small restaurant within the temple grounds, it wasn’t much about the food (which was pretty good) but a chance to take the weight off our feet for an hour or so, of course ice cream for Mar was mandatory, haa haa haa.
After lunch we spent more time exploring the grounds, but soon it was obvious that you two were tired, you two had done really very well we have been on our feet all day! Finally we made it back to the hotel around 16:00, an hour and a half later we were off again for supper.
On the way we had to walk past this fantastic CCTV building, to be honest it would have made the perfect HQ for any of the made up Evil corporations, you can take your pick lol, Umbrella Corporation, Weyland Corporation, Hyperion Corporation even the Magog Cartel, haa haa haa.
Decided to take a short-ish walk to China World Mall, and we weren’t disappointed, with so many options but most of them were unknown to us, apart from one, Putien. I knew them from my business trip to Guangzhou and I knew that your mother would love it, and she did... more brownie points for me :-)
A wobbly start, but as the day grew the more fun we all had, at first people at home were a little puzzled why we had chosen to come to Beijing by ourselves, it would have been so much easier in a group tour. Well, your mother and I do prefer the freedom, it may be more challenging, but that is part of the fun when travelling :-)