Sunday, June 3, 2007

Beijing Tour (Part 1)

What a day! Today I took a tour of the city, and saw so much in such a short period of time. It was well worth the price of admission. The day started at around 9 am when I met with my driver and guide, his name was Chin. We started our tour with a trip to the Forbidden city. Along the way, he pointed our all the buildings and their functions, from the national TV station to the Ministry of Culture. Our first stop was the Forbidden city. This was a place for the Emperor and his Empress. It was a walled area surrounded by a moat. When you go in, there were some beautiful and elaborate work. See the pictures below for some examples.

After leaving the Forbidden City, we drove by Tiananmen square and the Temple of Heaven. See below for more pictures of that area.

We then stopped at the silk outlet, where I got to see how they make silk thread and other silk type things. I even got a chance to “help” out in the process. As you might imagine, they are there to sell you something, and I just hope I didn’t make a mistake by buying something there. I was disappointed as they did not haggle there, and my driver told me that the silk shop was a place they did not haggle. I was never sure if he was truly honest, but as time went on, and he told me where to and where not to haggle, and even where not to buy, I think he was steering me straight. (although I am sure that these are regular places he steers people to!) Anyway, on with the show…

Next we drove by the Olympic park that they are building for the 2008 Olympics. It is hard to believe how big the effort is. Chin told me that they are spending $50 Billion on this effort, and I am not surprised given the scale of the effort. The opening ceremony stadium was beautiful, a true work of art, but it is one of many, many stadiums that they are building. With the games one year away, I am not sure that they will get it all done! See some pictures below! I asked Chin about the rumor that the government was going to shut down the industry to try and clear up the air before the games, and he told me that they have already started that effort by moving all the heavy industry out of the town. Only light industry is left in the town… on that note, I am amazed about how they build things around here… they appear to be building the highways by hand, Chin said that the didn’t use steel in buildings until 2002, so it is just amazing what they have done.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey. Brandon steered me this way, and so have I have really enjoyed reading your blogs. It gives me something to do while I am at home trying to potty train. Anyway, I am livivng vicariously through you! It sounds like an amazing journey. Thanks for keeping us updated! ~ Jenn