We rounded out our visit of Beijing by seeing the Forbidden City and, of course, eating Peking Duck! Then to Xi'an for the Terracotta Warriors.
China is ...well, hard to explain. We'll just leave it at that.
Beijing is scrambling at lightning speed to "get ready" for the Olympics. They've gotten rid of the "poor" people and their street culture and replaced them with huge, beautiful, and hopelessly empty apartments (see photos on previous page) and store fronts.
The photo shows what Beijing couldn't compete in time ...so you've got a "tranquil forest."
This one's near Tiananmen Square where there'll be lots of tourists during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Well, this wall with another "wall" above it is hiding what they couldn't finish in time. The painting on the wall-above-wall depicts Chinese life during the Ming Dynasty.
We then went to the Forbidden City just north of Tiananmen Square. Unfortunately, it was a hazy day and so the photos are hazy. Here's Tauru in front of the city's entrance. The city housed the emperors and their families (including up to 3,000 of one emperor's concubines -- that's about one concu per night for 8.7 years! Calculation assumes this particular emperor took at least 20 vacation days per year. No sick days included.) for over 500 years. I think Steven Spielberg's "The Last Emperor" showed this -- no, not the 3000 concubines! The Forbidden City and the last emperor.
We took tons of photos, but they're all hazy. Besides, there were A LOT of tourists around and so the photos are overcrowded. For good images, just Google "The Forbidden City" and read up about it there. Here's Tauru ...wondering where the 3000 concubines were.
This one has a cool story. This massive one-piece stone weighs 200,000 gazillion tons. It was quarried in the outskirts of Beijing and brought here during the winter on an ice path. They would pour water over ice and pull.
Okay, Tauru's found his concubine.
With only some 153 days left before the Olympics... here's one of the many official stores selling Olympics stuff. Logo: One World, One Dream. It should be interesting to watch.
Beijing wouldn't be complete without a Peking Duck feast! We found a really nice restaurant that was first opened in Beijing -- then called Peking -- as Mr. Abe Lincoln was swearing into office as US Pres back yonder. This, believe it or not, is a cup of tea! Yes, tea! A collage of pot pourri flowers with hot water. Yum, super fragrant!
WARNING: THIS NEXT SECTION IS NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED, OR VEGETARIANS.
Here's our duckie! "Hey, whoa-whoa, be gentle, man. Be gentle."
Tauru, a chopstick in each hand, drums to the beat of "duckie-duckie."
Tell us how it's devoured, Tauru.
"Duckie-duckie on lotus pancake
With duckie sauce and veggie things,
Then duckie-duckie bye-bye in Tauru's tummy doth make"
(This "Duckie-Duckie" song is copyright protected.)
Yes, you, too, Christi, can go at duckie.
Christi with Duckie in front of the restaurant. The simple things in life can bring so much joy.
After the Forbidden City and Peking Duck in Beijing, we hopped on an over-night train to Xi'an. Here's Christi with China's best beer. It ain't much back home in the States but here in China... it's good! That is, Chinese beer is REALLY bad. Everything's relative, right? So we got some PBR's (Pabst Blue Ribbon, Milwaukee's best beer!) and partied on the train.
Tauru partying with a PBR and Tim Lee's shirt.
We should advertise for PBR. Those smiles are actually really real! We never thought we'd be so happy drinking PBR's.
In Xi'an, we found a Wal-Mart! During our road-trip (Mar-Oct 2007) we used Wal-Mart's parking lot as our "hotel". They allow RV's to park overnight without hassles. I wonder if they have the same policy in China?
The Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an. They were discovered by a farmer in 1974 when he was digging to make a well. These soldiers were made some 2000 years ago to guide Emperor Qin to the after life. They were buried with him. Use Wikipedia "Terracotta Warriors" for more history. Also, check out "The Emperor and the Assassin" Chinese movie -- it's about Emperor Qin. A really good movie, and you may be able to find it at a video stors near you.
Video: Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an.
Each soldier is life size and has his own unique face. You'll notice the 2 or 3 that are headless. The heads were made separately and then plopped on.
They even had weapons/swords with them, but they've been removed and are now in the museum.
Pretty neat faces, huh? Interesting to note that facial hair was in vogue back then. And long hair, too. Not sure if the "bun" look would survive today.
The eternal warriors. Hope Emperor Qin has made it to the after life... cuz these guys are now working for China Tourism. Really crowded with tourists.
Waiting ...and waiting.
Each warrior is his own self ...waiting ...waiting.