Beige is boring


Day 3 took us to Tian’an Men Square and the Forbidden City.  Just another glorious day in Beijing.  Again we were blessed by the sunshine. Three days in a row in Beijing with sun!

As we walked onto Tian’an Men Square I couldn’t help but think about how the Western world perceives it. We (at least people of my generation) remember the terrible sight of the 1989 pro-democracy uprising. No mention of that from our guide! For modern-day Chinese the significance is that this is where Chairman Mao proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949. This is like our July 4th. It’s also the reason we get to take amazing vacations in Bali. The country has a huge weeklong celebration and it’s best to just vacate. How’s that for etymology!

I’ve been in far more beautiful squares but not one that was bigger! It’s the world’s 3rd largest. Mao’s mausoleum is located here along with a few museums. Chairman Mao’s body is displayed in a crystal coffin. It comes up out of the refrigerator everyday for people to pay their respects.  We passed on that. We also did not linger in the square. There wasn’t a whole lot to see, it was bitter cold, and we had things to do and places to see.

The gate that is used to enter the Forbidden City is called Tian’an Men. It means Gate of Heavenly Peace. That’s one reason I love China, everything has meaning and significance. It was another one of those moments that I had to take a deep breath and enjoy the moment. I have read several novels that were set in the Forbidden City and it’s always exciting to see and experience the places you read about. They rarely disappoint and this surpassed my expectations.

It took more than a million workers 15 years to complete the construction. When you see it you understand why. I was struck by how colorful everything was. No surface was unadorned or beige. The emperor’s decorators were definitely not minimalists 😉 There are so many buildings and gates inside and they have names like  Gate of Heavenly Purity, Gate of Divine Prowess, Hall of Supreme Harmony, and Hall of Preserving Harmony. 

I’ll stop now and hopefully you’ll enjoy the photos.

4PM – 65°

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About vikarenously

I am an ex-pat living in Guangzhou, China. I am married to the man of my dreams who has indulged my love of travel by working hard enough to snag two international assignments. Oh yes, I also have two amazing children who accompanied us on our first one to Switzerland and are now mature and responsible adults which makes it so easy for us to experience this adventure as empty-nesters. Experience it vicariously with Karen.

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