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Monday 4 June 2007

Forbidden? Not so Forbidden! – Beijing Travelogue (8/12/2006)

Malaysia Airlines flight no. MH0378 departed the Kuala Lumpur International Airport for Beijing early in the morning of 7/12/2006. I arrived Beijing at around 2:45 pm and waited for immigration clearance for an hour before I finally got hold of my check-in luggage. Luckily it was low season for sight-seeing travelers in winter. If not, I could have been stranded for even longer at the Beijing Capital International Airport.

Due to a long day of catching planes cum transiting, there was no time to see any interesting place, so I decided to start my sight-seeing activities the next day.

Early in the morning, I took the subway train from my friend's apartment to the Tiananmen Square (天安门广场). After I had alighted from the train, this subway attendant performed his duty of getting clearance for the train to leave the station. I even witnessed how these attendants pushed the passengers into the train car during peak hours!

After getting out of the subway station, I saw another major means of transport in Beijing.

Since Tiananmen (天安门) is on the other side of the street, I had to get across the 10-motorway lane Chang An Jie/Street (长安街), but using the underpass, of course! The guard at Tiananmen beared the same expression as Chairman Mao.

This side door of Tiananmen must have been passed through by numerous top decision makers shaping China today!

As I walked further north, the Forbidden City (Gu Gong) was in sight.

Many of the ministers and eunuchs must have passed through these arches in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Today, they remain as passageways to enter the exhibition chambers on the western perimeter.

For those who don't understand Mandarin, it can be misread as the description of the relic condition, haha!

And I wonder, what's inside?

Before I knew it, I was already at the most northern part of the Forbidden City, the Imperial Garden (Yi Hua Yuan), where the Emperors and concubines had played.

I had to turn south-bound to go out of the City and the sun was already low.

And the sun is setting.

When I reached the exit, it was already dark.

It's time for me to call the day off!

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