Monday, August 14, 2006

Soft Server Cone in Tiananmen Square

Greetings from Beijing!

After a three hour delay (sitting in the small plane stuck on the tarmac eating peanuts and watching The Sentinel (god help us) we touched down in communist China. By the time we passed through immigration and took a very scary cab ride through Beijing (where we listened to a Chinese radio programme about… god knows what…. There were many kungfu battles.. that is all I could make out) we arrived at our hotel at 3am… we were meant to arrive at 10pm the night before. Much sleep was had!

Today, not speaking a word of Chinese and having no real idea where we were we head out into the streets.. to discover we were the only non Asians about.. and that they found Girlclumsy fascinating.. They couldn’t stop staring at her! We walked down long long streets past about a zillion people selling everything from little stores until we realised we were lost and asked for directions. We were trying to find the Temple of Heaven…. The nice man we asked told us (in dumb-show mime) that it was over the road. We had been walking next to the damn place for 10 minutes!

Inside is a ginormous park.. Absoluletly huge! You pay 35 Yuan (about $6-$7 AUS) and head through the West Gate. The first area respresents the earth and mortals. Inside that is another huge wall and through that lies the Celestial Gardens. It was all taken over for housing during the ‘glorious revolution’ but they have realised that tourists like a bit of bling and have cleaned the place up. We saw the Circular Mound Altar and the Divine Kitchens.. but the most amazing sight was the Imperial Vauilt of Heaven. If you think of a building in Beijing then this must be the one. A three tiered pagoda all red, gold and blue. A beautiful building made in the Ming Dynasty. Stunning and fantastic. Funny thing we realised was most of the buildings had been made into their current configuration around the time of the Battle of Agincourt or later during the Jacobite revoltsa. Gave us some historical perspective. Two people wanted their picture taken with Girlclumsy! We have no idea why but we think it is because she is very tall and very very pale. The men that wanted the picture taken the second time asked for my permission.. not hers! I was most amused… she was not so amused hehehe. I have started calling her my White Ghost Woman.

We found a map and decided to walk the ‘short distance’ to tianamen square. By Christ! The maps really don’t give Beijing the correct perspective! The place is huuuuuge! Short streets on the map are 6 lanes wide and take 15minutes to walk down! Crazy! The traffic in Beijing is manic. Cars weave in and out of non-existant lanes and beep like crazy. You cross by invoking whatever deity you believe in and just step out… fun!

We finally found Tianamen square… but not before we found TWO McDonalds and a KFC! Huzzah for Communism! *Snigger* We bought an ice cream each and headed onto the square. We were accosted by a million hawkers (sellers of tourist tack.. not guys carrying hunting birds) but we managed to fend them all off.. except for one very nice young artist named Micheal. He was a student at university and did English and calligraphy. He wanted to take us to the museum next to the square and show us his universities calligraphy . Reluctantly I agreed. He took us into the closed museum and killed us… no no.. that was what I thought was going to happen but he was actually on the level! Inside was a small exhibition of beautiful calligraphy. Yes.. we did buy something.. but it wasn’t expensive and if we were fleeced then it was the nicest friendliest fleece I have ever had J

Chariman Mao lies in a chamber just a block from here and the Squre is lit beautifully. Those Communists can really put on a show! Remember.. this is all Day One of Beijing!

Must run! All is well!

Exclamation marks are free!!!!!!


Anonymous said...

ah, i'm sitting here in a seattle coffee shop, with free wi-fi, looking at the disaffected youth, that would have once been part of the grunge movement, but who are, mercifully, free of all emo tendancies. make so mistake, there are street rats, but they each have their own distinct look and notion about themselves. one's even wearing a sundress.

oh, and that mail you sent me a short while ago.

everything you said, i pretty much took as the unspoken understanding that we never spoke of.

the fiend
go, you good thing.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for you to get to Ulan Bator. Who knows what delicacies await you there!!!
Obviously the firecracker worked

TahitianLime said...

Exclamation marks are cool

You missed Equus being done in 45 minutes with a female dysart for the drama festival!

Anonymous said...

God help us... Equus being done in 45 minutes the mind boggles and Equus must have been startled

The Wah said...

I dont think Sean King could have survived the 'riding' scene!

The Wah said...


I gone, baby!

real gone!