Sunday, June 2, 2013
June 1, 2013
I could say that this day started like any other day, if a typical day starts with a serenade from a tour guide and “Frogger” style traffic patterns. We headed to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, and both can be summed up in one word: HELP! This is one instance where the pre-school “hold onto the rope at all times” method would have helped us maneuver the walkways. This was the first instance in Beijing that we felt the population of 20 million.
Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City are rich with history and it is amazing to stand where so many have stood before us. Emperors, presidents, and millions of tourists have walked the same path, and historically famous events took place exactly where we stood. One famous myth of the Forbidden City is that it contains 9,999 rooms and it would take over 27 years to sleep a night in each room. There are actually just under 9,000 rooms, but walking over the original marble while fighting through fierce crowds to catch a glimpse of the Emperor’s throne it felt like the buildings could have housed over a million rooms.
After our dose of history and culture, we had lunch and were off to the infamous pearl market of Beijing. This was the moment we had all been waiting for. Our bargaining skills began to be sharpened back in Ithaca, and this was the moment of truth. I’d say, based on the amount of bags we walked out of the market with, our training paid off!
This was a tiring day, but China’s rich history that the Chinese are so proud of really shined through and we were able to see first hand what our history books tried to convey in high school. A good day for sure!
- Christina Larrabee
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