Click below to see the most recent pics from day 4 and 5. People who know me know I don’t really bother editing, so I apologize for the duplicates and blurry pics.
Day 5 started out with SUN!!! In fact, the sun was actually YELLOW!!! The rain had cleared away all the pollution and bright clear skies met me as I exited the hotel. I started with some street food (it’s so freaking good, why doesn’t LA have street food this good - oh right, health regulations - bummer). Then it was off for a long overdue visit to The Forbidden City.
WOW. I took way to many pictures because everything was so beautiful, and I’m sure not one of them does any justice to this opulent palace. The Forbidden City is China’s version of Versailles, and I’m not quite sure which one I wanna live in more. I spent 5 hours there walking around and exploring the treasures, and didn’t even get to 1/3 of the grounds. Some of the highlights (that I took all those pics of) include, a carved 600 ton single marble block, thrones that I desperately wanted to sit on (but they wouldn’t let me), animal guardians carved into the tops of the pagodas, relics of the imperial clockworks, concubines quarters (I need to get me some of those) and gate after gate leading the way from north to south across the grounds. I actually got to walk on the same pathway leading through the palace that was once reserved only for the emperor himself. There’s something spectacular about physically touching history like this in a personal way.
After The Forbidden City it was time to climb the winding steps up to the home of the Golden Buddha (no photos allowed) overlooking the entire Forbidden City for the quintessential photo. Sorry for all the duplicates, the position of the sun and the returning haze of pollution by the early afternoon made it a bit tricky. From there I got lost in the Hutongs (old windy streets of the original city) on my way to Ho Hai (the lake I walked around on Day 3). This time it was a hub of activity. I did a loop around the entire lake (a couple miles) and stopped for a beer and some more street food while enjoying my book overlooking the lake shimmering in the later afternoon sun. By this time the pollution had returned and the ubiquitous orange glow was spreading across the sky and touching the city. After stopping for a coffee, finishing my book and chatting with a few cool people on the lake, the sun had set and it was time to find my way home. I thought about catching a cab, but decided that it was a bad idea at rush hour and made my way across the city to the nearest (yet about 40 minutes away) subway station.
Truly a perfect day in Beijing. T-shirt weather, pollution free air, stunning palaces, great conversation, a good book, and it’s not over yet. I’m meeting Max back at Sanlitun Village at 11pm for my second to last night out on the town. Maybe we’ll try that gay dance club again….. hopefully this time it’s open. :P
Stay tuned!! Tomorrow morning is The Antique market!! “Smart shoppers get there at 4am” - good thing I have no more money left to spend. I think 8am will do just fine.