China, post 15 – Tiananmen Square

Saturday morning (wow, we’re actually on to Saturday!) we took a tour to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Sean, our previous tour guide, gave the tour, which was great. We didn’t have a huge group – which was good because The Forbidden City is easily the most crowded of all the places we went. We had thought we might want to stay longer than just the morning, but honestly, after a morning, we were DONE. Crowds, heat, and the fact that much of the Forbidden City all looks the same…

On our way out, we went past the Lotus Center, which is where Sharon and I went shopping earlier in the week. I bought some snacks for work (they were all pretty ‘meh’) and some chopsticks.
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Another interesting building:
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And here we are by the square. This is Zhengyangmen gate.
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The Tiananmen Square is enormous, and we only really walked across it.

Here is Mao’s Mausoleum in the background. (Note the security cameras on the lamposts) FYI, the line to get into the mausoleum is the ONLY line I saw in China. Basically, no one queues up – they just push and shove. Maybe the soldiers with guns had something to do with the order line.
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No, we didn’t go in.
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We went past the Great Hall of the People:
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The Tiananmen Gate, which is the entrance to the Forbidden City:
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Across the square, the Monument to the People’s Heroes and the National Museum of China (way in the back)
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Here’s a little video of the square, which I apparently thought was slow, but is a little bit Blair Witch.

That’s our tour guide Sean talking in the background of the video.

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The monument again:
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The Museum:
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I like the kites in the background:
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The Tiananmen Gate across the Square:
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Another monument (blurry, sorry) in the background:
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Mao’s mausoleum again:
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Museum and monument:
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Heading towards the Tiananmen Gate. That’s where that famous portrait of Mao is – he gave a speech on this gate. The gate is famous so it was fun to photograph. Note: not an endorsement of Mao!
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Lampost with security cameras:
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The monument and mausoleum behind us:
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There were lots of people selling things – like watches with Mao on them. We thought that was kind of funny since the people we were with for this conference work for the US gov’t – and how awkward would showing up to work to debrief about your trip wearing your new Mao watch be?

This lady had parasols and I had fun bargaining with her and I got a purple one. Then I kind of liked the pink one too – but I settled for taking a picture of it. People sell all kinds of other things like fans, and postcards.
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The Great Hall of the People behind us:
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Tiananmen Gate again:
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Under the road, and here we are.
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To get into the Forbidden City, we had to go over the bridge you see in front of you here, which was JAM PACKED with people, and under the gate.
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Push! Shove! Umbrellas poking your head!
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And here we are in the Forbidden City! Still lots of people!
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So, I’ll leave it there for now – and the next China post will be about the Forbidden City!

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