Thursday, April 26, 2007

Travels in China: Beijing Day 2: My Idea of Heaven

My second day in Beijing - from the endless posts that I write, but forget to actually, you know, post!

Today we visited Tianamen Square - and in case you're wondering, yes someone in the group (no that wasn't me) asked where precisely the tanks tried to kill the university protester. Our tour guide told us in China they've never seen that footage (not surprisingly) and so she didn't know too much about it.

Visiting the Emporers Forbidden City was pretty amazing. Looking at the private rooms, squares and gardens, it's amazing to imagine that I'm standing in the very same spots as so many emperors who would never have imagined that the China of today would be the China of their future.

My idea of heaven: well that was 3 things:

1) The Summer Palace, where the last Dowager Empress of China spent 10 months of the year. It was so beautiful, that I was completely blown away. I could have spent hours there.

2) We went to dinner at a famous Peking Duck restaurant (we are in Peking after all), and there seemed to be an endless supply of beer, duck, pancakes, and my table was full of middle aged men and women, watching their cholesterol. Hurrah! I'm fully embracing "holiday mode" and normal food intake has been completely suspended until I get back. The fact that I can actually feel the fat starting to join up different parts of my body so that I resemble more of a ball like shape hasn't quite stopped me yet... not quite...

3) The company that my mum has been working with to help organise this tour sent us two ladies to come and give me and my mum massages in our rooms. And no, these were not "ladies" of that sort, just two, very friendly, middle aged women, whose hands were able to relieve tension in my poor old body. I've had loads of massages before, but I've never communicated with any of my masseuses as much as I did with these two women. Neither one spoke much English, so it was all through body language and pigeon English/Mandarin. I had bought a little Mandarin-English phrase book, and the fact that I could work out they were saying "fangsong" (relax), and how to say "we're walking the Great Wall of China tomorrow" more than made up for the 12 Euros I spent on it.

Another fabulous day in China all in all.

Most embarrassing moments: None yet - looking exceedingly chubby in my photos isn't pleasing me.

Best Moment: It's a toss up between standing on the edge of the man made lake, that's shaped like a peach, looking out on to the temples on the other side at the Summer Palace, and at dinner realising with increasing joy that no one else wanted any more duck and it could be mine! All mine!! Tricky.. I'll post some pictures very soon.

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