23 March 2008

China: Day 3

At 8am we left the hotel and headed to Tiananmen Square. As soon as we got off the bus we were hounded by people selling souvenirs and fake Rolex watches, and they followed us right along the street.
After walking around the square we had a group photo taken in front of Chairman Mao's picture, then walked through the Forbidden City, which is vast. The garden within the Forbidden City was very beautiful, and there were white and pink plum blossoms in flower. The weather was very sunny but quite cool in the shade. After all that walking we were very hungry and our lunch was at a nearby restaurant. This was our first proper chance to try real Chinese food.We went on to the beautiful Summer Palace. In the long corridor along the lake all the pillars are decorated with paintings. The marble boat was very impressive. Afterwards we drove past the Olympic bird's nest stadium and watercube and visited a fresh-water pearl centre.
I decided to go on the optional evening tour of the hutongs - the old style coutyard housing. We were driven around in two-seater pedal rickshaws. We went along the narrow streets and the riverside where there are many restaurants and bars. We were then taken to a typical family home where a chef cooked a meal for us.

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