It has been a wild week, with many things going on, and made it to many places. With the networks so slow here, most of what I am posting is out on Deviant Art right now because I seem to get better upload speeds doing one at a time than I do trying to do batch uploads to flickr or to smugmug. Overall very pretty city, but lots of pollution in the air, lots of neat people, and if you have not read the lonely planet reviews of this place you really do need to.
Got hit up with the hi I am pretty let’s go for a drink scam down by the Forbidden City yesterday. And yes, she was very pretty, but it is a huge scam designed to either roll you for every dime you have, or waking up in a dark alley somewhere depending on the people involved. It does take some convincing to get this scam to go away, but keep an eye on everything and be polite but persistent in saying no.
There are some dark recesses to the Forbidden City that most of the tour guides will simply try to pass you by. Really you can’t see the Forbidden City in an afternoon, you will want days, and there are tons of cool things that are around there as well. I almost feel sorry for those who were on the rush ½ day tour through the place. Many people will tell you that they are a certified tour guide and will offer to walk you around showing you the sites; you want to avoid that as well. Better to be wandering on your own and learning about the subways.
Word you need for summer, Bing (bee-ing) = ice. It has been very hard for me to find ice in drinks, but Bing Kafe for Iced Coffee is working brilliantly. I don’t know why ice seems to be a scarce commodity, but finding cool drinks is easy enough. But if you are like me and like to munch on ice during a hot day, then that will be a challenge that will be interesting to try to accomplish.
If you go visit Chairman Mao’s tomb, prepare to have your back pack put into storage, no back packs allowed, don’t be ugly just know this is the rule for getting in. it is really interesting that Mao’s Tomb is at the front end of the forbidden city. Then the workers party halls, and other halls that used to make up the main walk way to the Forbidden City.
Overall this is a great place to spend the day, I spent something like 6 hours there, and I figure I saw maybe ¼ of it. The place is so huge, you get a real idea of what imperial architecture can be like, much like you can get in Rome or in Kyoto. Living large, it is good to be the emperor if you like your digs huge, beautiful, and filled with religious significance.