Hello again! Bet you didn't expect another update so quickly. Well, that's what you get for projecting your own ideas onto me.
Today was spent in Tian An Men Square and The Forbidden City. We started by Kaitlin promptly forgetting BATTERIES for her camera and a return to the hostel. Then we walked back to the square. Everything here is... confusing. Streets don't have crosswalks in many places, you have to use an underground pedway. So after some humming and hawing, we found our way to the square. Bags were checked by miltary police and then we were allowed in. This began the TEDIOUS process of figuring out just how in the hell we get in to see Mao's body. No bags or cameras allowed, so we tried to find the bag check. When that failed, we headed to the exit and asked the first caucasian group we could find how we check our bags.
Once the bags were stowed, we headed BACK AGAIN to queue up to see Mao's body. It was... surreal. "He's short," Amy pointed out (after leaving the hall). We then had to collect our bags and get to the forbidden city, across a major street. The picture I selected for this update is of the entrance to the city. The city was a sprawling mass of rooms and halls. A helpful english voice over in a corridor told us it housed around 800 rooms. Yikes!
We stopped for a delicious lunch (I had an amazing chicken curry) and then kept exploring. By the end of it though, we were EXHAUSTED. Despite our efforts with sunscreen, I burned my shoulders a little. Not bad, all things considered. We've been in the sun since 8am and it was around 3pm when we left.
You know how I mentioned being an outsider. Oh my god did we get starred at. In fact, people were following us around taking our pictures and video. One couple even asked us to pose for a picture with them. Huh... I thought the city was the attraction? We don't mind per say, but it is a really odd sensation.
Now back at the hostel, we've booked a night at the opera tomorrow (and we'll be going to the summer palace), the great wall for thursday (4 hour hike), and we are going to the Lama temple and doing shopping on friday. Then we leave Saturday night (at 9:42 pm) on the train to Nanjing... even though our hostel requires us to check out by noon. Oh well. Maybe we can store our bags here while we shop? If not, it's going to be a long boring day at the train station.
More updates tomorrow, you can be sure. In a little while Amy and I will be heading for the night market and searching out some tasty Peking Duck for dinner. Wish us luck!