Friday, March 29, 2013

The Forbidden City...or the city covered in fog

The morning after the Night Market, I headed to the Forbidden City. Anna stayed in the hostel for the morning/early afternoon, so I went by myself, which was fine. I spent a lot of time asking foreigners to take pictures of me, but I have a few.

It was raining and a bit foggy, which I later discovered was smoggy, since it wasn't raining and the sun was shining through the smog.

The Forbidden City was built in the early 1400's. It was where the emperors lived and had their ceremonies and ran the government. It was the home of 24 Emperors, ending in 1912 with the last emperor. 

The door at the entrance was very large.
The houses were slightly less well taken care of.

Here's the entrance
Due to the rain, I had my hood on. Due to my recent laser eye surgery, I was wearing sunglasses because I have to outside for the next 6 months.

The result is I look like the uni-bomber.
A bridge.

I looked around at all the palaces and thrones and various buildings, which were very beautiful and so interesting.

The main halls of the Outer and Inner courts are in groups of 3 to represent heaven and the residences of the Inner Court are in groups of six, which represents earth.

This is what the ground looked like.

Here I am, looking less like the uni-bomber, but also small compared to the vastness of the square and the buildings.

According to Wikipedia, "the sloping ridges of building roofs are decorated with a line of statuettes led by a man riding a phoenix and followed by an imperial dragon. The number of statuettes represents the status of the building – a minor building might have 3 or 5. The Hall of Supreme Harmony has 10, the only one in China to include the last statuette."

Yes, I know Wikipedia isn't a "credible" source, but it's worked well for me in the past.

Based on that, though, I believe that this one is the Hall of Supreme Harmony.

Just kidding, I know that's true because I took a picture of the sign.

Oh, it's been scratched....Who is responsible for this?

Look how small the people look!

Yellow is the color of the Emperor.

Here I am with the city behind me.

This was a "Long Stone Carving" according to the sign, that weights 200 tons. There are 9 dragons floating with the clouds. The dragon is the imperial symbol/signal (signal according to the sign) hence the popularity of dragons in China.

Anna taught me that there are usually 2 dragons in front of each building, a boy and a girl. You can tell the gender by looking under it's paw/claw. The males have a ball under their foot and the females have a baby dragon under their foot.

There's the baby dragon.

Some fountain spouts.
Dragons and birds.
More dragons.

A crane.

A turtle dragon.

At the back of the city, there were some fairly intricate rock carvings, which were very cool looking.

They were perilous.

Another dragon.

An elephant.

I wanted a picture in front of the rock with the building on top, but ended up asking 3 very bad photographers to take my picture.

This guy zoomed in. The other guy's picture looked exactly like the first one.

After wandering around the Forbidden City, I went across the street to JingShan Park, which cost 30 cents to go inside.

Jingshan Park

You climb up the hill to the top and there's a temple at the top.

Apparently, the top of the hill has "The best view of Beijing" and used to be the highest point in Beijing.

It should look like this when you get to the top. A great sweeping view of the Forbidden City, with all the small buildings and roofs visible. Unfortunately, the fog/smog meant that that beautiful view is not what I saw. What I saw was....

Wait for it...

Not quite the same as that beautiful picture...

It reminded me of the Clouds visiting the top of Hitler's Eagles Nest in Germany in a fog bank.


Oh well, the temple up there was cool and I could see the view a bit better than what comes out in pictures.

I took a picture of the couple who took this picture.

When they looked at it, they said "What a great picture of us and a cloud!"

No naked flames!
One of the emperors committed suicide at the bottom of the hill, because he felt he was going to lose the upcoming battle.
Here was the tits tour...

Boy dragon.

Girl dragon.

I then wandered back to the hostel.

The Forbidden City was a bit bigger than I realized and the walk was a lot farther than I expected and took forever. I eventually took the subway back otherwise I was practically going to miss an entire day of touring.

Here's the subway.
Here's the flying police van.
I stopped and got some milk tea and water and this dog was the cashier.

Well, the cashier was no where to be found for a couple minutes, but then they came back.

That afternoon, we visited a foggy summer palace. But that's the next blog!

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