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- | Beijing, China – Day 2 – The Forbidden City & Tailor

Beijing, China – Day 2 – The Forbidden City & Tailor

Day 3 The Great Wall
Day 1 Hutong and Belltower

On our way to Tian’anmen Square and the Forbidden City. (The City entrance is on the left, and the Square is coming up on the right.)


Tian’anmen Squareis the largest square in the world. But… it’s really just a big piece of pavement.

The entrance to the Forbidden City. I’m so excited! AH! This was definitely on my top 5 list of things I really wanted to see before I died. While it was the imperial residence, you could only enter with the Emperor’s permission. It was built in 1406-1420… almost 600 years old.

Whenever you see pictures in guidebooks or online… you really mostly only see photos of the impressive main courtyard. But the Forbidden City really is HUGE, way bigger than I expected. (The complex has 980 buildings and covers 7,800,000 sq ft.) We suddenly realized this when we looked at our map before deciding which direction to go.

A lot of tour-groups would give their members brightly colored hats so they could keep track of them.

This was our first real experience with lack-of-line-following and pushiness in China. There’s maybe 20-30 people crowding around to see the Emperor’s throne room inside. If they’d just waited in line in an orderly fashion, everyone could have seen it pretty quickly… but instead, everyone was quite forcibly shoving each other and in order to see it at all, you had to shove yourself to get in, and then you had to shove your way out. Judy actually got stuck and I had to push some guys out of the way to help her get out. Ridiculous!

Here’s the throne room everyone was shoving to see.

I thought these interlocking ribbon designs were lovely.

This is one of (four?) Nine Dragon Walls in China. AJ really wanted to see it. :)

Check out the creepy eye balls on the side there. Technically, I think they’re supposed to be pearls.

Marcus shielding AJ from the sun while she takes a picture of the foo dogs. :)

I really liked this dragon gargoyley water spout!

AJ took a photo of me taking a photo of the gargoyle

Luckily it wasn’t that horribly crowded when we went, especially once you paid like $5 and entered the “artifact gallery” area which led to further complexes inside the Palace. I’m glad we decided to do this (we had no idea) because there was way more Palace this way that we would have missed. And the artifacts were super rad.
Check it out, this foo dog has coral growing out of his butt. (j/k)

Really beautiful anthropomorphized members Chinese Zodiac

One of my favorite parts of the City, Xi Shang Ting (Pavilion for Bestowing Wine) which included the “Ditch of Floating Cups”… Oh, China, I’m not sure “ditch” is exactly the word you were looking for….
But basically, you sat in the pavilion, there was water in the serpentine “ditch” and floating wine cups would come to you while you composed froufrou poetry. Sweet.

One of my favorite artifacts, a golden dragon celestial globe.

With the constellations in PEARLS.

There were tiny tiny people carved into the gold…

At some point, I caved and paid $5 to get my picture taken on a golden throne in traditional Chinese bridal attire. (I pretty much just wanted that giant blue floral headdress on my head. haha…) Totally worth the $5.

In case you needed further illustration of how tall I am.

Marcus supplicating.

Some of the upper walkways in the gallery area. If I had an epic library, I’d so have walkways like this.

Just in case you weren’t sure this post was by me, a photo of my feet and blossom petals. There were apple, cherry, lilac and various fruittrees blooming ALL OVER Beijing while we were there.

Check out the length of our legs. 😉 :)

Sometime around this time, a little Chinese lady came over and gestured to me with her camera. She didn’t speak any english and I didn’t speak any chinese, so I thought she wanted me to take a photo of her for her? But then she grabbed my arm and moved me over to a particular spot, put her arm through mine, and had her friend take a photo of us together. (Because I’m a tall white girl, I guess?) haha. She was nice, and it was funny, so I didn’t mind.

More blossoms!

Oh, No! We lost Aimee to blossom photography!

Oh, No, Marcus! You’ve lost two of them, now!

Dui Xiu Shan (Hill of Accumulated Elegance) through flowers. It’s an artificial mountain about 10 meters high at the back of the City complex. We thought it was kinda amusing that all the names of places were Hall of Harmonious Harmony or Hill of Peaceful Elegance, etc… it was like you used a name generator for it.

Around this time the City started to close and they started to kick people out. The previous day with my extremely long flight… I’d been so tired, I wasn’t sure if the trip was worth it. But today, after seeing how GORGEOUS the Forbidden City was, I felt like I’d fly 15 hours just to see THIS and go home.

Then, we got a fake-cab to the tailor. Here’s the back of his car. We figured he was trustworthy.


Here’s us in a cute shopping area. We were looking for a tailor so that I could get something custom made while I was there. Labor and fabric are relatively cheap in China, so I was really excited about having something custom made just for me! AJ and Judy had this done in Shanghai (for cheaper…!)

A jacket I liked (note the tucks in the patterned fabric inset.)

One of the tailor houses

Some catalog images you could have in any fabric you wanted, made in your size. You could also draw a picture of what you wanted.

What poor Marcus, the sherpa, looked like by this time. He’s holding a lot of our fabric purchases and sweatshirts, etc. What a good sport!

A sign near the ATM. No idea what’s going on here.

After that we had peking duck at the faster-side-version of a famous restaurant (Quanjude). We were SO starving at this point that we would have eaten anything, but it really was delicious! You basically make a pita with the duck.

The cute Chinese-Ginza-esque area (Qianmen) the restaurant was in

Which contained a fancy fancy Chinese Starbucks.


  • batchix

    19.05.2011 at 13:00 Reply

    Dave had the same thing happen to him in Shanghai along the river walk. this little old lady pulled him aside and wanted their picture taken with him. then a group of teenagers saw and were like “dude! let’s do that too!” so they got a photo with him too. he said that one was funny because they were hanging on him and making tough guy faces.

  • Caitlin

    19.05.2011 at 13:05 Reply

    The fancy Chinese starbucks is cracking me up 😀

  • snowfoxcreations

    19.05.2011 at 17:01 Reply

    …I really want to know what’s going on in that poster- it looks hilarious.

    Lovely photos! I enjoyed looking at them. (The level of craftsmanship on some of those old artifacts is breathtaking- I wonder how long they took to make? @_@)

  • rtmajor

    19.05.2011 at 18:19 Reply

    Aimee: These are really fun. Looking forward to the rest of the week.

    Seems like I was there with you


  • Jinyo

    19.05.2011 at 20:01 Reply

    What an epic journey!
    The Forbidden City is HUGEMONGOUS. Not by accident do they use the word “City.”

    It’s pretty funny that you are some sort of tourist attraction. You have to wonder what sort of story she will tell her friends and family about that picture of you.

  • Maxx

    20.05.2011 at 05:33 Reply

    Nobody goes to Tian’anmen to see the pavement, you go there to see whether there’re any bloodstains left! XD
    Loving your photolog of China; I went to the Forbidden City when I was much younger and you’ve made me want to visit again. Lovely photos!

    As far as my limited Chinese tells me, the sign near the ATM is a PSA from the East Beijing public welfare police department telling the public to ignore strangers posing as debt collectors in calls or texts to private telephone lines. The text from the fellow is “I don’t owe money!” while the bubble says “I’m from the telecommunications company, you still owe 2000 yuan on your telephone bill.”

    When I saw your Peking duck I was surprised! I’m so used to the crispy skinned version. After talking this up with Jun we realised it’s because Beijing’s Peking duck is both the meat and the skin sliced together and wrapped. Elsewhere, like high class eateries here in SIngapore, the skin is the focus – it’s carved off the meat and put in the wrap. The meat is aftermath that is sliced up and eaten separately.

    • aimeemajor

      20.05.2011 at 08:23 Reply

      Not that I’m any expert of Peking duck! Ah, but it was duck in China, so I feel like I’ve done my duty.
      Thanks for the translation of the sign! That sounds about right to me!

  • yume

    20.05.2011 at 10:51 Reply

    omg $5?! that’s amazing! i’m so jealous and EXCITE about this post. I’ve always wanted to go to the forbidden city too!

    also, the awesome engrish is awesome.

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