New Day Herald

Day 4 of the China Trip with the Travelers

Article imageThis is the third in a series of articles and images from NDH correspondent, David Sand, on the road in China with John-Roger, John Morton and 108 traveling peacemakers.

August 17
At breakfast Steve Beimel walks around to our tables uttering the dreaded words: 60% chance of rain today. Early morning walk to Tienanmen Square and the Forbidden City, which are just a short stroll from our hotel.

Everything is on a massive scale here–the square is huge, structures are imposing; the Forbidden City is an enormous complex of buildings where one gate leads into a courtyard & building, which leads to another courtyard and building, etc. So in case you think that some of the photos are repeated versions of the same building, you’re mistaken–it just goes on and on and on.

As we enter the Forbidden City it starts to rain and we get drenched (I’m not going to say “wish you were here”–it’s more like, wish I were there reading about this on my computer in my room).

Everybody’s taking photos of everyone else, often at the same time. Doesn’t Zeus remind you of that guy in “American Beauty”?

The big photo of Mao on Tienanmen gate is the only Mao photo I’ve seen so far, except on the Little Red Books that they sell outside the tourist spots.

In case you’re wondering, Beijing is really an incipient Hong Kong or Tokyo–big and little shops, everybody doing business, latest fashions. Not much trace of the Beijing of 50s thru 80s. Chinese tourists look very well off–not on the scale of Taiwanese or Japanese, but in a short time this will probably be a prosperous middle class country like Taiwan–at least in the cities. You can see what I mean on our pedicab (bicycle rickshaw) ride through the city streets on our way to lunch at a nearby park.

On to a gorgeous restaurant where we’re greeted by traditional dancers.

And as usual the meal becomes another Judi Golfader experience as she attempts (successfully) to buy one of the dancers’ hats.

Then it’s back into pedicabs and to another park where we get a real treat: a talk and demonstration by a world-renowned Chinese calligrapher.

At this point your humble reporter, wet, tired, and lungs filled with car exhaust from pedicab rides, decides to retire to his hotel with a few of the other more intelligent participants, while the rest of the group goes on to another redundant, huge meal and the Chinese opera. I’ll just bang a few glasses and coat hangers together in my room if I want some oriental music, and then sleep and do s.e.’s.

Tomorrow we leave Beijing at 6:15 am, luggage is picked up at 5 am.

Click here to view Children of China Special Feature

Click here to view Day 3 of the China Trip

Click here to view Days 1 & 2 of the China Trip

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