Friday, November 26, 2010

China Travels, Part 2

So, intrepid readers, my last tome detailed our adventure getting to Beijing and then visiting the Great Wall of China.  It was indeed a grand adventure.

The next day, after another fabulous McDonalds breakfast, we walked from our hotel to the actual Forbidden City.  See, there's a reason our hotel was called the Forbidden City Days Inn.  It was literally a 10-minute walk from the Forbidden City.  Not that we could have taken a taxi even if we wanted to.  They don't have taxis in China large enough to transport our mob.  Our walk there took us through a very beautiful park complete with a pond of dazzling goldfish and a gorgeous red bridge.  Very serene, which was appreciated because...

...once we got close to the Forbidden City the crowds got thicker and thicker.  Oh, and all those stories about how Chinese don't know how to stand in line and take their turn?  Well, they are all TRUE.  Pushing shoving, cutting people off, blatantly pushing past people who have been waiting very patiently for their was nuts.  The bridge going through the very first gate was packed, and we felt fortunate to not lose any of the kids in the scrum.

There are words to describe the Forbidden City complex, but I'm not sure I can put those words together in any way that would do the place justice.  Every time we walked through one of the gates I said, "Hey, I think this is the one they used in that final fight scene in the Mulan."  And then we'd see another one, and I would say the same thing.  I'm still not sure which one it was that was in the movie.

As most of the Chinese visitors took the central route through the Forbidden City, we decided to go around the side entrances and pathways.  And we only went down the right-hand side, but given the symmetry of the place, I doubt the other side would vary too much in its layout.  It seemed to me that the side galleries and places just went on without end.  By the time we got to the emperor's garden in the middle, everyone was starting to get tired and hungry, so we made our way back out of the complex.
An American couple chillin' in the doorway.

It was within the confines of the Forbidden City that we ate our one--and ONLY--Chinese meal on this trip.  And between you and me, it wasn't that good.  Granted, our children are not as adventurous in culinary terms as Mali and I, but we've heard from a lot of people that, generally speaking, Chinese food just isn't that good.  I'm going to have to modify that statement, however, because I have had some Chinese food that is in fact quite delicious.  Of course that's all been outside of China, but I'll take a chance and say that Beijing Chinese food just isn't that good.  But their McDonald's and KFC are just like we get in the States or here in Bangkok.
That's right, my son knows how to use chopsticks!

Check out the guy to my right--based on how I eat noodles, apparently I might be part Chinese!

Beware the ravenous panda!

Mmm, noodles...and no, Mali is NOT Chinese!

Even Jane loves her noodles.

We also visited Tienanmen Square, but the kids weren't too impressed with any of that (no sense of history--kids these days!).  Okay, I'll be honest: Tienanmen Square really ain't all that, and they have no bowls of chips, just lots of Communist concrete structures.  So we'll just leave it that for dinner we went to McDonald's.  And at least this time there was some place for us to sit...

When I get around to it I will post about the rest of our China adventure.

1 comment:

  1. The summer after my first semester of college my grandpa took me on a business trip to China (and Taiwan and Hong Kong) We went to Beijing and Shanghai. I liked the food in China a lot. I remember really good noodles, tons of fish, steamed buns with meat inside, and I even was coerced to eat scorpion and chicken feet (I don't think I'll ever understand why chicken feet are considered a delicacy)

    I loved the Forbidden City. Tienemen (sp?) Square was filled with kite fliers and at the Great Wall I think I got altitude sickness or something.

    Anyway- I wish I could go back now that I know a little bit more about the history of China.