Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City (con't):

The Forbidden City is a mass of quads forever going deeper into itself and becoming 'holier' as it does. Around the edge were smaller quads and rooms for others such as the concubine below (not on the face of it a 'hot chick'). The throne rooms were the places where the Emperors got ready to, and did, dispense Chinese justice.

Then on to Tiananmen Square and the lowering of the flag at sunset. A very regimented parade. The guidebook said that the guards used unnecessary force to control the crowd at this event. They seem to have done something about this. On guard was a very well presented man that chatted with all the women and played with the children. If all this was just for PR it worked.

With the flag and the sun down we strolled around the square as the guidebook suggested. Kites and lights abounded.

Then the armoured vans and police arrived in numbers. With megaphones blasting we were all moved from the square in a quick 3 minutes. Any slower and I feel we would have been hit by a van or pushed. So much for the people's square. We didn't see the body of Mao (pickled) which is still revered.


We visited a government run Jade factory and shop.

The Ming Tombs:

Impressive for their size and political history but not much else. The great things in Beijing revolved around the Emperors. The architecture of these sites is samey.

The Great Wall:

The wall at Badaling is an unnecessary experience. Crowded, steep, lined with coaches, noisy and too renovated. But if you don't watch it a guide will take you there, and when you realise from the map that you are going to where you do not want to go, it is too late.  You might even be told that an accident has prevented you from going to the bit of the wall you wanted to see. Badaling is cheap. Not the place to go, but the guides get tips for taking you there and to a Jade factory on the way. We found out.

Badaling - the haze is pollution.

Nevertheless, it is the wall of China and it is good to see Maya walking on it aged one.