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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Day Seven - Let's go touring!!





How can you describe something of the stature of the Forbidden City??... Very large... Jennifer (I told you she was full of information...) told us on our tour that Tiananman Square was 450,000 square meters and the Forbidden City is 750,000 square meters... We walked a whole lotta meters today... I did not find my Chairman Mao wristwatch yet, but I am still looking - Going to head to one of the markets and practice my haggling... But I digress... :)

Standing in Tiananmen Square is something akin to standing on the front lawn of the White House... Everywhere you turn there are more official residences, offices, government facilities... You name it... Basically Grand Central for some of the big decisions in China. The architecture is amazing and just the sheer number of people who come here to visit is quite astounding. We arrived on a "slower" day but there were still scads of bodies as far as the eye could see... Took some of the obligatory pics (some of which we will share of course) and then we proceeded to the Forbidden City...

Conveniently... Tiananmen Square is in front of the entrance (well, one of the entrances) to the Forbidden City (didn't mean the meter count went down... Just that these two enormous things are side by side...) So in we went. Got a fantastic history about the city and the dynasties and the emperors and such (I will not try and type that all on this tiny keyboard FYI, but suffice to say that our history lesson was far and wide during our tour...) We managed to get Sylvia around fairly well with the stroller (only a few steps and obstacles overall...) so she was pretty content for the day there... Trying to tour with a little one is tricky, but she was trooper - Got a nap in the morning before we left so I think that helped... Forbidden City ended through another gate (North I think)... Where we were unleashed to merchants who proceeded to try and sell us things... (China Flags, Pins, Dragons...) Had one lady just about follow us off the grounds trying to sell the foreigners a dragon... I have some fantastic haggling tips from our first guide David (Have we mentioned how great he was?? :) ) that I got to practice on this (we will call her "persistent") lady...

Tip number 1 - Rule of thumb is 10%... They say 100 - You say 10... Sounds a little lowball-ish but I tell ya it works like a charm! :) If you "insult" them (It is quite the act by the way) you simply say no thank you and walk away... If they want to sell it - the numbers start coming down... :) Or they move along to another sucker... er... customer. :)

The end of the day we thought we might be able to enjoy a Chinese Acrobatic performance, but a little way through our munchkin decided that enough was enough, so we made our way back to the hotel and got her settled in. (And by settled in I mean fought to get her to sleep because she was obviously over-tired...) All ended well, so we had some quiet room service and hit the sack to prepare for an early morning start to the Great Wall.... I am looking forward to seeing this Wonder of the World... More to come...

C & J & S

2 comments:

  1. Might I just say... Sylvie looks positively more radiant and happy each and every day.... :)

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  2. dickandyvonne@shaw.caMay 30, 2009 at 1:30 PM

    Hi Iam enjoying the pictures so much. Iam amazed at how well you allseem to be adjusting. Take care look forward to more news and pictures Love auntie Yvonne

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