Today I visited the historic The Tiananmen Square in the center of Beijing, which is said to be the biggest square in the world. We learned the square is 880 meters from north to south, and 500 meters from east to west, with total area of 440,000 square meters and can hold one million people. I witnessed The Tiananmen Gate Tower sites. I saw the Five-Star Red Flag flying high on the square, the Monument to the People’s Heroes dominates the center, the Great Hall of the People and the Museum of the Chinese Revolution and the Museum of Chinese History to the east and west of it, as well as The Chairman Mao Memorial Hall and the Qianmen gate. Mr. Shine told us over several hundred years, in front of the Tiananmen, many democracy meetings and demonstrations were held. Tens of thousands of people visit daily.
As we were taught all about the history people took pictures and pointed at us. At first it was fun and we enjoyed taking pictures with everyone but it began to get a little overwhelming for most of us. Mr. Shine, in their native tongue, instructed the people to stop but it only grew worse as we walked on. He told us that many of them are just acting that way because they had only heard of black people but had never saw a black person in person. I could understand that so I was patient with them and tried to smile in every picture.
I could tell why the Square is listed top among Beijing’s 16 scenic sites. There was a building dedicated to each and every important event such as the cultural revolution and the student riots. I looked to the center of the square and there stood a class of children like statues hands by their des and faces straight forward. These children looked like they had to be in elementary school and were completely still. Immediately impressed by their concentration I asked Mr. Shine “why are those kids standing up there?” He replied, ” it teaches them discipline, I did the same when I was young.”
I admired the devotion and thought about my little brothers who are around their age. I wondered if they could be as “disciplined” as these children.
We continued across the street to the second part of our journey to the Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty the end of the Qing dynasty from the years 1420 to 1912. It is located in the centre of Beijing, China, and now houses the Palace Museum. It served as the home of emperors and their households as well as the ceremonial and political centre of Chinese government for almost 500 years.
We learned it was built in 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 buildings and covers 180 acres. The palace complex exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture and has influenced cultural and architectural developments in East Asia and elsewhere. The Forbidden City was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987.
Walking around the palace I emperor and empress lived in such a large place and how they managed not to get lost. I got to see where they would capture and detain enemies and even their garden. I had done some research on the places I would be visiting but words can only do so much. Actually walking around the palace I gained tremendous a sense of respect for Chinese culture. Though It did get a little overwhelming it’s not everyday I am asked to take a picture with someone or better yet their children.
Mr. Shine asked if we were hungry, and after all that walking of course we were. He told us we were going to a place called “Peking Duck”. With our stomachs empty we were willing to go just about anywhere. The car ride was about 30 minutes with some traffic but we soon were excited to be seated at yet another table with another spinning table placed on top of it. That had become a sign that the meal would come with a variety of foods and we loved variety.
After snapping a few picture with and without our consent the waiters and waitresses placed bowl after bowl of food in front of us. My face lit up and I dug into the cabbage, rice, beef, cucumbers, and chicken in front of me. This time I had less questions because certain dishes were the same as the meal.
Later into the meal a chef comes out with a cooked bird and began to carve it with such grace. I had never seen this before so I stopped eating to watch his work. I asked the group if anyone knew what that was, their best guess was duck. This made some sense since the name of the restaurant was Peking Duck. They then handed us what looked like soft tortilla flats, a dark almost syrup color sauce, celery and onion strips. They instructed us to make a wrap with the ingredient with the duck they had seared in front of us. I did as instructed and I instantly fell in love with duck!