Today we had the same start time as yesterday. Our camera memory cards and batteries were ready to go to Taianamen Square, the largest urban public square in the world. It is 100 acres in size and can hold 1,000,000 people at one time! After the student protests riots and subsequent student massacres, it’s name as “The Gate of a heavenly Peace” did not seem appropriate. Every 500 feet we were met by imposing guards in green, sporting the Mao Tse Tung red star cap. While in the square, we were advised to not make any mention of political topics or use “politically incorrect” words, as verbal and cellphone conversations are constantly monitored by government “eavesdroppers”.
As we entered the square, we picked up a selfie stick and took some wonderful photos of ourselves . . . What a fun invention! Rick was accosted by a vendor selling these sticks and managed to negotiate a price for one from US$80 down to $5!! Post touring, many of us agreed one more overnight stay to visit the walking streets, shopping, prestigious restaurants and Confucious Gates for photography, would be welcomed, as we have all come so far.
After another scrumptious Chinese lunch, we proceeded to visit The Forbidden City, the most-imposing Chinese imperial palace. For 5 centuries, it served as the home of the Emperor, his entire household, servants and concubines, becoming a ceremonial venue and political centre of the Chinese government during this time. As a World Heritage site and part of UNESCO, it has the largest collection of preserved artifacts and ancient wood in its structure in the world, made by artisans for the Imperial Dynasties.
From only 10 years ago, Beijing has transformed its infrastructure of ring roads and super highways and is a sleeping giant to be reckoned with.
Confucius says . . . “Our world has many places and a place has many worlds”.
Should we ever return to Tianjin and want to go to Beijing, we will take the bullet train, which cuts the travel time from 3 hours to 35 minutes! This train can reach speeds of up to 300km/hr!
Most passengers, including ourselves, will be spending quality time onboard the ship for the next 3 days, before docking in Shanghai, China, signalling an end to our cruise.
FITBIT STEPS TODAY. 13,489