Thursday, May 10, 2007

Beijing, China (4.28.07-5.5.07)

I've dreamed of walking The Great Wall ever since seeing pictures of it as a child. So I'm counting blessings once again to have had another dream realized. I truly enjoyed Beijing!

However, this is going to be a very short entry as I have yet to get caught up on emails. In fact, I’m giving up on emails for a while. I’ve been stagnant in terms of book writing, so this is my last distraction until I have at least 5 chapters thoroughly worked out.

Sincere apologies to those of you who haven’t heard from me in a long while. Don’t worry about me. I am well, but it’s going to be a while longer, as you won’t hear from me until I am in a book writing habit. I appreciate your support.

The Forbidden City was my first stop. It’s called the Forbidden City because it was off limits to most Chinese for 500 years. It was the residence of the emperors, his family and his concubines.

It’s a massive complex, and despite walking around with an automated guide chatting in my ear, seeing it in its current museum state made it hard to imagine how the spaces were used during the Ming and Qing dynasties.

Watching the movie The Curse of the Golden Flower brought it to life. I can’t say I agree with the general message of the film, but it is an awesome film. I highly recommend checking it out for the cinematography if nothing else. The martial arts and battle scenes at the end of the movie were the most impressive I’ve ever seen.

The Temple of Heaven Park was also an impressive architectural complex.

Beijing is preparing for the 2008 Olympics, and there are construction sites everywhere. I was impressed by the subway billboards I came across saluting great Olympians like Jesse Owens, Wilma Rudolph and Muhammad Ali.

Thanks to my fiend and excellent host, Heerang, I learned that the Ali billboard loosely translated says, “Perhaps you didn’t know that Muhammad Ali threw away his medal.” It features a quote by Nelson Mandela explaining how Ali’s character and willingness to be stripped of his medal rather than fight in a war he opposed (the Vietnam war) inspired him.

I like that the Chinese are paying homage to the likes of Ali and Mandela. I also like that they seem to waste NOTHING.

It seems like the Chinese will eat anything. Don’t get me wrong, I come from a culture that eats pig intestines and feet, so I’m not dissin’, but I was surprised to find such things as duck bills, chicken feet, fish bladders and bullfrogs on the menus of some restaurants. And on snack street they were serving everything from seahorses, lizards, snakes, beetles and starfish to sheep’s testicles on wooden skewers.

There was a time when I was willing to try almost anything…but that was several years ago. I had to pass on the aforementioned delicacies.

Hopefully I’ll be able to post a photo of 11 acrobats on a single bicycle soon. Until then, I’ll leave you with one last photo of the Great Wall.


Post a Comment

<< Home