31/10/12 Beijing

Today, we woke up and went downstairs to have breakfast. We were told by Regina, and by looking around our friends’ rooms, that our room is a ‘king-sized’ room. We went downstairs to have breakfast (one of the best we had had here) and went down to basement levels one and two, and found the table tennis tables (although they were only open from 2-8). We then got on the coach (I picked up a newspaper on the way) and set off to the Forbidden City. We entered Tienanmen Square and were told about the ‘axis’ which runs all the way from the southern towers, through The Forbidden City and out the back. This axis goes exactly from south to north and all entrances which are on this axis – which were most, as they wanted them to be exactly on the axis as it had a significance in ancient China – were solely for the Emperor; no others were allowed to go through them except the Empress on the wedding day and the three highest officials when leaving (which was the greatest honour in the world to them). We walked through the Forbidden City (map in picture coming soon) and ended the trip in the Imperial Gardens; where the possible wives lived, where the Emperor learnt English and where the man-made mountain (where the Emperor went on the ninth night of the ninth month of the lunar calendar for good luck) was placed.

We got back on the coach and Regina – who was born in Beijing – told us why the city was why it was and how it related to the ‘Lom’ or special Dragon. We then went to a restaurant and, after, went to the pearl shop next door – where we were shown how they are made (industrially, not naturally).

We then left for the Summer Palace. We walked down the long Corridor, and up the Incense Tower. The Long Corridor was the world’s longest painted corridor. After getting in the coach, and battling through the street sellers to do so, we headed towards the tea house. There we watched the tea ceremony and went to the restaurant. We then headed towards the ‘imperial family well road’ where there is a huge food market where one can buy many delicacies such as scorpions on sticks and deep fried crickets. On the way there, Dex asked Mr Burcher’s question of the trip (and it was apparently mandatory to put this on the blog) “do solitary wasps have testicles” as Mr Burcher had spent a large percentage of the trip lecturing us on this specimen). We arrived in the street and walked down the massive expanse of shops, all bustling and selling all different kinds of foods. The first time, SS, Mr. X and I walked straight past to the high street and went into souvenir shops and toy shops. On the way back to the coach, we decided to buy some foods. From the first stall, I bought some strawberries covered in syrup and carried on walking together. We then saw a few of our class-mates walking along with a glass of foaming black liquid. All three of us tried the ‘Bubble Tea’ and we all felt the epic amazingness of it. Mr X then went on to buy some smiley face doughnuts and then we got on the coach and went back to the hotel. We then went to sleep (as the table tennis had closed an hour ago) after reading that day’s newspaper.

GT

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