Volleyball team in China: Day 5

May 25, 2013

ESU volleyball players at the Forbidden City.

Today was our first day of all touring and no volleyball.  We headed to the middle of the city to visit Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. 

Tiananmen Square is the exact center of the city of Beijing and is like the capital where important government buildings are.  In the middle of all the government buildings is Chairman Mao Memorial building where the first Communist leader (Mao) is preserved for people to walk through and pay their respects and see his body.  It’s an honor to be able to go in there and a lot of the people bought flowers to lie around in respect of their first leader.

Tiananmen Square is right in front of the Forbidden City. As we were entering there were two women who walked up to our group and threw a stack of papers and started yelling things in Chinese.  Seconds later they were being arrested and taken away, causing a huge scene.  At first we were really scared and had no idea what was going on, but we later found out that they were protesting in honor of someone in their family who had been mistreated by the government.  Apparently this is normal because people have their own opinions but since it’s a Communist country their not allowed to protest unlike in America where we have the freedom to protest.

The Forbidden City, also known as the Imperial Palace, was the permanent residence of the Emperor of the Ming and Qing Dynasties.  A little history lesson and facts for you is that there are a total of 9,999 rooms for the Royal family, workers, and mistresses.  It is the largest and most complete group of ancient buildings which China has preserved to present.  The Qing Dynasty was overthrown in the Revolution of 1911 and the city became a museum in 1949.  Along with all the history we learned we saw a lot of really cool ancient buildings and artifacts.  It was about 90 degrees today and there were thousands of people visiting so we were all dying of heat and sucking down the water and popsicles. 

At the end of the Forbidden City there is an addition that was added because the city was too small for one of the Emperors.  We hiked to the very top to the highest pavilion where we could overlook the entire Forbidden City along with a beautiful view of the skyline of Beijing. We’re definitely going to have plenty of pictures to show from our trip because it’s only day four and were already at 300 or more.  You could say were a little picture obsessive but hey you’re only in China once!

At this point in the day we’ve probably walked 6 miles and climbed a lot of staircases so were all exhausted and its only 2 in the afternoon.  After refueling at lunch we headed to Commercial Street to do some more walking to look at shops and see what kind of cool things we could spend our money on.  A lot of the girls found some sweet deals and got some gifts for family and friends.  We’re definitely getting a lot of bang for our buck over here!

It was a great day of touring and we’re looking forward to doing more sightseeing after playing some volleyball tomorrow!

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