Samstag, 3. Dezember 2011

3 Beijing. Tourist highlights

Here are the Forbidden City, former residence of the emperors, the Summer Palace , summer residence of the emperor in the North-West of the city and the Temple of Heaven to mention.
The Forbidden City: It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its name expresses that for the normal people the access was not permitted. It is practically an extension of the Tian'anmen Square in the direction of North. Especially during the summer months the influx of Chinese visitors is immense and the heat as well.

The entrance fee is 60 yuan. I went there with a Chinese friend. At the checkout counter a middle aged woman was sitting. I told her in English: "Please two tickets" and gave her 120 yuan simultaneously. She just gave me one ticket. I looked at her astounished. She acted as if nothing was wrong. Only after my vigorous insistence she gave to me the second ticket.
At the entrance, on the bridge over the canal, there were soldiers and civilists under umbrellas. Again and again I was specifically addressed as a foreigner by Chinese people. Watch out, usually there is a commercial reason behind it.
First, you reach a courtyard with many people, where I saw soldiers on the morning drill. Now and then one had to run round in the heat. 

You have to imagine the way that visitors enter the Forbidden City through the entrance and move step by step through or past the buildings towards the northern exit gate. Of course, one can deviate from this main path in the direction of the side streets. So you could spend a whole day in this area. In the large buildings shown primarily state receptions were held. It was difficult to get in their immediate vicinity taking a look inside the palaces because of the high amount of visitors. So the winter season   would be the best time to visit.
The lower photo shows the entrance to the actual imperial residence. I was surprised how modest it was in contrast to the palaces. On a board I read something like:
"To find happiness in this world, moderate, reduce your claims." It could not fit better in our time. The emperor must have been a wise man. In this area there is also a small park with trees and shrubs.
In the Forbidden City, no trees, that could donate shadows. Thus, the imperial family and their entourage lived separated from the ordinary people.

Our next highlight is the Temple of Heaven (Temple of Heaven), which the emperor and his court reached, leaving the Forbidden City to the South, following the Qianmen St. This is a beautiful old park. It should be there  trees that are 800 years old. The Emperor was praying in the Temple of Heaven for sending rain.
Now it's finally time for us to move into the summer resort of the former Chinese imperial family. The Summer Palace is situated on the northwestern outskirts of Beijing (Haidian District) on a large lake which is surrounded by a beautiful park. Entrance to the spacious parking lot 30 yuan
As already mentioned, the summer in Beijing are very hot, slightly humid and partially low rainfall. It is evident that the emperor wanted to leave the Forbidden City paved with stones during the summer season.
I had the opportunity to accompany a typical middle class family from Beijing visiting the park. We drove there with their car, a fairly new Japanese SUV production. They had a pretty daughter of 10 years old. She was looking forward to talk with me in English. I think she had already a good level of knowledge, which she expressed in longer passages of fluent English. So it came to my mind that this  rising generation will probably have much better English skills, which benefits the economy in the future. I did my best as "English teacher" and thanks to that learned to pronounce correctly some Chinese words.
My impression after some time in Beijing was, that the country advances in the form of so called strategic waves, intelligently planned steps within a time frame. The political organisation of the state seems to be very efficient for decisison making and a following accelerated realization.
The thinking of the political leadership is focused on what is useful for China and his advantage. This is legitimate. I sometimes heard that China does not want to repeat the mistakes of western countries.
Above, I think is a beautiful shot from the Chinese life. In a plant of the summer residence, some people were dancing to the music. Simply using a small radio. If you have a moment, look, the joy is to see in their faces. Such community meetings, I often saw in parks, places of Beijing. Dancing, even in the early morning hours, joint exercises in the parks, playing music and singing at night in the Olympic Park on the weekends.

The imperial palaces and temples in the park attract many tourists. Climbing up a hill with good visibility, a part of Beijing is in sight. Children play with toys of all kinds of which there are an infinite number in China. At each corner is a booth with cold drinks or something to eat. Outside of this area it is quiet and restful. Strolling along the lake on the way, whole families are seen, which have made themselves comfortable on the mowed grass in the shade of the trees and make use of the picnic basket brought by them.

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