A Journal, with Pictures

Beijing

by on Jun.30, 2017, under Happenings

We embarked to Chi­na on May 5th, 2017 for a three week tour of Chi­na. The trip was orga­nized by our friend Tony Huff­man who employed Impe­r­i­al Tours of Chi­na that turned out to be a great expe­ri­ence. We had a Chi­na host, Lotus Qi, who accom­pa­nied us for the entire three weeks and in each city a guide and in some cas­es spe­cial guides for a par­tic­u­lar area. We stayed at great hotels, and had a pri­vate car and dri­ver  in each loca­tion. I do not com­ment in each city about the food, but we ate at the best restau­rants, most­ly Chi­nese, but also inter­na­tion­al cui­sine. We laughed at “anoth­er light Chi­nese lunch”, because every meal was a feast, orches­trat­ed by our Chi­nese Food­ie, Lotus. We had the best Piz­za we ever had in Chi­na (Truf­fle Piz­za) and the best French Toast. We ate our way through Chi­na. We also wit­nessed what has been called the “Chi­nese Eco­nom­ic Mir­a­cle”, which has pro­duced an infra­struc­ture now world class and the largest mid­dle class in the world. I will save my com­ments of what I have learned about the Chi­nese sys­tem of Gov­ern­ing and the “Eco­nom­ic Mir­a­cle” for a sep­a­rate blog that I will post lat­er and just focus on the sights of Chi­na for now.

We arrived in Bei­jing and were met by Lotus and tak­en to the Penin­su­la Hotel. As we were descend­ing into the area the first thing that struck us was the huge  num­ber of high rise apart­ment build­ings and how mod­ern the Air­port and oth­er infra­struc­ture was. Bei­jing is a city of twen­ty two mil­lion cov­er­ing about one hun­dred square miles. We had a good flight, but hav­ing done this many many times, I con­clud­ed I’m get­ting old, won’t go work out right way. Our first day was spent tour­ing Tian’an­men Square, the For­bid­den City and doing a tour of the Hutong dis­trict of Beijing.

Across the street from Tian’an­men Square is the For­bid­den City the Impe­r­i­al Palace of the Emper­ors of Chi­na. This com­plex served as the home and seat of pow­er for 24 emper­ors, their courts and harems from 1420 to 1924.

 

Of course we had a lunch of Peking Duck, which was great, but I said I would not obsess about the food but it was spe­cial hav­ing Peking Duck in Peking. We then did a tour of the Hutong, means alley ways, which was an exclu­sive neigh­bor­hood before the revolution.

On our sec­ond day in Chi­na, which was a Sun­day, we vis­it­ed The Tem­ple of Heav­en. This struc­ture was build in 1420, using no nails, and was where the Emper­or would vis­it twice a year for three days to med­i­tate on the affairs of God and man. On the way to the Tem­ple we vis­it­ed an exer­cise park paid for by the Wel­fare Lot­tery, that’s right, no enti­tle­ments in Chi­na. We also wit­nessed moth­ers in the park solic­it­ing wives for their sons, since the one child pol­i­cy has pro­duced a thir­ty mil­lion man sur­plus. Anoth­er exam­ple of unin­tend­ed con­se­quences when gov­ern­ments med­dle in the peo­ples business.

 

After the Tem­ple of Heav­en we vis­it­ed Bei­jing’s Art Dis­trict that was cre­at­ed from a Cold War arms fac­to­ry. This area was very live­ly and an impres­sive use of Fac­to­ry 798.

On our last day in Bei­jing we vis­it­ed the Sum­mer Palace and then trav­eled out to the Great Wall. The Sum­mer Palace was rebuilt in 1888 by the Empress Dowa­ger Cixi and con­sists of 3000 build­ings, gar­dens and ponds, around the man made Kun­ning Lake.

The Great Wall was built to pro­tect Chi­na from preda­to­ry nomads, and is an impres­sive struc­ture with ques­tion­able effec­tive­ness. This again demon­strates that a gov­ern­ment project is hard to stop once start­ed. We saw the wall and were sur­prised to learn that a pri­vate lun­cheon was catered for us, on top of the wall.

 

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