Saturday, July 10, 2010

Tianamen Square

We went to the famous Tianamen Square last Saturday. We walked to the nearest train station, then took the subway all the way there. It was another hot and sunny day in Beijing, yet you could still see all the pollution in the sky.

Here is the Tian'an Gate, overlooking the square. Gotta love the big picture of Mao Zedong on the front. Mao is still revered in China with almost a deity-like status, as you can see on many souvenirs and on the Chinese paper currency (his face is on every denomination).

We were already feeling the heat and sweating by the time we got there, so we bought popsicles from a some lady selling them out of a cardboard box on the steps out of the subway station. They tasted mostly like sugar water, with a hint of banana. I don't usually like banana-flavored candies or foods, but these popsicles were great since the weather was so hot.

Travis and Saethang decided to try to fit in with the locals and roll up their pants into ja-pris (like jean capris) since it was so hot outside.

Here is one of the other buildings in the square, I am not sure which one this is because unfortunately I don't read Chinese. Notice how many umbrellas are out? The umbrellas provide some minimal shade from the sun.

Some people make their living walking around and selling things to tourists in the square, like this lady who was selling umbrellas. Several of the people in our group ended up buying umbrellas from her.

Here is the building on the other side of the square. One of these buildings is the Forbidden City, but I'm not sure which one. And yes, I know that is terrible of me... I am a terrible tourist.

They wouldn't let us take photos inside the Mao Memorial museum, but here is what it looks like from the outside. In fact, you are not even permitted to take any bags or purses inside the museum--you have to walk through crowd control gates and wait in queue, then go through a metal detector scanner like the kind at airport security. But inside, the security guards hushed us and told us to be quiet in respect of Mao's embalmed body. I am not sure if that was actually his body or a wax image of his body, but there was a body that resembled Mao inside a glass case with a communist flag draped across it. And then there was a gift shop at the end, of course. Overall, it was not a very exciting museum, but just a big tomb for Mao.

This is the gate that you see when you walk out of the Mao Memorial building. I think you can walk around inside this gate as well, but our group did not get the chance to.

After the Tianamen Square trip, our group was free to do whatever we wanted so I went shopping with Michelle and Christine at the Xidan Shopping center. It is like a ridiculous mall, with 6 stories of stalls like chinatown street style. Each floor is different, for example-the 1st floor was all accessories like jewelery and little trinkets, and purses and shoes were on the 2nd floor. I got a huge canvas Totoro purse :) Its awesome, especially when I bike to class with the Totoro in my front basket.

If you don't know what Totoro is, he is a character from the Japanese movie "My Neighbor Totoro"! It is an animated movie that I used to love to watch when I was little, my mom purchased the Japanese version though so I never had any idea what they were saying in the movie but I still loved it because it was so cute.


jon said...

careful ice lollies containing melamine! =p

Megumi said...

Ah! That Totoro bag is so cute! "Ja-pris" look really funny. The pictures at Yuan Ming Yuan are gorgeous!

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