Before walking across the street to Tiananmen Square our group met the wheelchairs with attendants that were requested yesterday. Ten people ended up wanting chairs, but only nine showed up.
A solution was found as two ladies ended up sharing one by taking turns. We were on our feet for the next 3 hours so I understand some of the older ones needing them but they were fortunate that was an option because it wasn’t listed on any materials or reviews I read in advance.
Once in the square, the Beijing guide Lisa gave us a brief (communist viewpoint) of the history there. She did mention the tanks picture and said she’s never seen it but has heard about it from her tour guests.
We unfortunately didn’t get a chance to wonder around the big square and see the monuments up close.
I’m sure time was short due to the lost time in the morning AND the fact that Lisa spent too much time talking.
This is where we took our group photo. I’ve taken other tours and the group photo is free; not with Sinorama. Fortunately, one of my tourmates ducked out of the photo and took his own.
After the photo we headed across the square to the Tiananmen Gate also known as Meridian Gate.
This is one place I wish we had a handout telling us more about what we were seeing. Once through the Meridian Gate we saw bridges leaving to gate of Supreme Harmony.
Walking across one of the five Inner Golden River Bridges led us to a square in front of the Hall of Supreme Harmony.
The square was huge (10,000 square meters) and largely empty (compared to the crowds we ran into later). There aren’t any trees because nothing could appear loftier than the emperor.
There are status of guardian lions in Forbidden city always in a male/female pair. The male has one of his paws on a cloth ball while the female will have one of her paws on a cub.
We continued walking through Forbidden City with Lisa gathering us at various points to tell us what we were seeing. It’s all a blur now. 🙁
I think the above photo is the Palace of Heavenly Purity but am not 100%.
The doors going through the buildings were enormous as you can see from the photo above.
Here are some other pictures I took during our time in Forbidden City.
About 4:15 pm, there was an announcement that the grounds were closing in 15 minutes. We were close to the end but it suddenly got very crowded and rushed.
I wish we could look around the Imperial Gardens but our guide had to rush us through after telling us where we were and letting us take a couple of photos.
The pavilion of imperial view was at the top of a rock wall (artistically arranged).
You can see the crowds in the photo above exiting the Gate of Divine Prowess.
Once out of the Forbidden City, we walked a brief distance to our buses dodging all kinds of street vendors and other pedestrians. Finally we were onboard and sat down with a sigh of relief!
We were driven to dinner at a huge restaurant with many Sinorama groups. It was pretty good and efficient. When done we loaded up and drove to the hotel that has the Beijing Opera performance we’re attending.
We had about 30 minutes to look around and (surprise, surprise) shop before the show. The lead actor put on his makeup and costume on stage during this time and it was rather interesting.
They had screens translating the speech to English and that alone was entertaining due to grammatical and word choice errors.
I had low expectations and was pleasantly surprised to enjoy seeing the show. I did not care for the singing style but the costumes, makeup and dancing was impressive.
Weirdly, two different couples seated by me talked through a great deal of the performance which was extremely rude and distracting. I finally asked the couple behind me to shush and other people shushed the other couple.
This video by tour mate Doug shows a good portion of the show.
It was difficult fighting off sleep and I admit to closing my eyes for extended periods a few times. My head dropping would wake me up. The show ended at 8:30 pm and we loaded back up on the bus and it arrived at the hotel around 9:20 pm.
STEPS: 14, 766
Distance: 6.2 miles
Don’t miss the previous China posts linked below.
Going to China (tour and visa)
China: Trip Preparations
November 12-13, 2016: Travel to Beijing
November 14, 2016: Beijing and Great Wall
November 14, 2016: Ming Tombs and Peking Duck Dinner
West International Trade Hotel Beijing
November 15, 2016: Hutong and Temple of Heaven