Forbidden City, Beijing

Lamentations 1:10 “The enemy laid hands on all her treasures; she saw pagan nations enter her sanctuary— those you had forbidden to enter your assembly.” (NIV)

The Tour began at The Forbidden City in Beijing where we walk 7.5 miles in the city.  The sheer size of this place and the history of the Tiananmen Square overwhelm me.   There are no trees, just concrete. The Forbidden City so called, as it was the home of Kings and forbidden to anyone else. Flags were everywhere and red is the predominant color. We had our yellow tags with our names in English and Chinese around our necks and were told to never lose them. Our guide had her yellow flag and thankfully, we never lost her.

People were friendly and wanted pictures of the blond lady and the tall gentlemen. Our guide told us that many of the country people had never seen Westerners, so we were popular in pictures. How would they describe these foreigners back in their obscure villages? We were a tour group from Australia, Iran, Germany, and Britain. Three of our group of 12 had cancer histories and we bonded quickly over stories, experiences, and humanity.

We traveled by rickshaw bicycles through the old part of Beijing. Green flowing willow trees were leafing out and alert you to water and rivers. We visited an artist home in the old section where everyone watched him paint. Of course, it is all for sale. We learned that every Chinese is a merchant. They are all selling something to someone.

After lunch of Peking duck, lamb, shrimp, beef, chicken, and pineapple coated in solid sugar, we traveled to the Temple of Heaven built in the 1400s. Older people were sitting in verandas gambling and having fun. Women were practicing their exercises gracefully and slowly amid lush and shady trees. School children were visiting all the sites of interest to tourists from other countries and were very well behaved. Dark hair, short stature, and dark eyes in Asian faces began to blur together. We had stimuli of sights, smell, sounds, and experiences.

What are your memories of travel? Food? Transportation? Things to buy?

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