Crossposting from an ancient blogger account
Original post here: https://raleighc.blogspot.com/2008/06/so-much-to-see-so-little-time.html
Wow. Long time, no post. Sorry about that. I’ve been busy exploring as you can imagine. Plus, I didn’t feel like I had much to post about saturday or sunday.
Saturday and Sunday were just a ton of walking. Saturday my goal was to get lost in Beijing. Needless to say, I achieved it, but I did have close shave with impromtu navigation excellence. After walking from 10 AM to 2 PM, I was starting to get pretty tired and I figured I’d be back at the hotel in no time. Well, the lesson that day was it’s perfectly ok to have no intended destination, but always have a map for when you’re really tired and disoriented and your internal compass is screwed up. I actually walked to within 2 or 3 blocks of my hotel, but I thought I was still too far north so I kept walking south until I thought I’d hit the 3rd Ring which my hotel is on. You see, Beijing is set up in Rings. My hotel is on the 3rd ring. Unfortuantely I thought I was on the 5th Ring. So then when I started to get on the north side I said I better start heading south to get back to my hotel. Well, that wound up with me walking all the way back into the city to the 2nd Ring before I found a city map to see where I was. Eh. Live and learn. I ended up getting back around 6ish so it was quite a walk.
So walking was fun. I saw a lot of multinationals’ buildings. Toyota, Microsoft… mmm. can’t remember them all. I walked through a mall in a rather affluent part of town more or less north of all the embassies. Nice mall. They had a little waterfall. I ended up walking past both the Hard Rock cafe and Sheraton Great wall, but I was certainly a little road by the time I walked past them.
Ok so I did all this walking and Sunday night I decided I’d go see the Temple of Heaven on Monday, but there was a small problem. After purchasing a map and seeing the distance I actually walked, it occured to me that if I walked to the temple of Heaven I’d be totally wiped out by the time I got there. Ok, i said. no problem, I’ll take a cab. And a cab would have worked, but it didn’t have that element of adventure. So I set my mind on taking the subway and I’m glad I did. After getting to the subway station and looking at the system map for about 20 mintues, I decided which stop I needed to get off at and proceeded to write the chinese characters down to show the ticket lady. Of course, the subway is easier than that. You just pay the ticket person 2 yuan and you get to ride the subway! It was super cool. I think that was the first time I’ve been on a subway. Awesomely fast.
So I get to the Temple of Heaven with the idea that its just some park, but no. Its this huge sprawling historical park. I had no idea. So I pay for a ticket and start wandering around the outer area, but I figure all the cool stuff to see is in the inner area like the cool stuff was at the back of the palace museum. The first place I went to was the Temple mound. Its a circular stone daius/platform thing where the Emperor would offer sacrifices to heaven. After a brief rest, I went to see the Fasting Palace which is were the Emperor would stay and conduct business for three or four days before the ritual. Really beautiful. A whole palace inside of a temple. mind blowing. I also took about an hour to go see the Divine Music Administration. Last I went up to the Hall of Prayer for Good Havests. Very interesting layout based on ancient Chinese time with 4 pillars for the seasons and 12 pillars for months.
here’s the wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Heaven
Today was my last day in Beijing which makes me a little sad 🙁 I still haven’t visited the Temple of the Moon or gone to the Hard Rock cafe. Major fail. Oh well. Leaving some things to see yields lots of reasons to come back 🙂 Excellent traveling advice Jim!
So for my last day it rained. I made the best of it however and purchased an umbrella to set off to see the Lama Temple. I was a little worried that it would be closed, but they were still open. I rode the subway again; this time not quite as far. The station was right under the temple which surprised me a little. After a little wandering I found the entrance toward the south side. This was a really amazing place. So many statues. One even in the guiness book of world records. Its really amazing to see a 26 meter tall Maitreya B-man (trying to avoid extra eyes if you catch my drift). Lots of people burning incense and praying as you can imagine. The architecture was a little different from the buildings I’ve seen so far, but mostly the same. Maybe a little more color. I knelt and prayed a little and kept you all in my no-thoughts 😉
Well this will be my last post from Beijing. Sorry about the infrequency of postage. I’ll try to be a little more diligent. From here its off to Xi’An: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xi’an. I’m really looking forward to seeing the Terracotta Army.