Our guide and driver picked us up for an action packed day. Well less action packed and more being chauffeurred around Beijing seeing must sees.
We started with Tiananmen Square which turned out to be a huge disappointment because it was closed to the public. They were obviously setting up for some sort of upcoming event but it was a shame for us.
Growing up in the late 80’s, the Tiananmen Square Massacre was a huge thing and very impactful to husband, myself and all of our friends. Watching the student protests and then that historical footage of the lone young man blocking the rolling tanks really was so shocking and impactful. Standing here today was a little surreal to be honest. So strange to talk with our guide about all of the protests and the subsequent fallout for the protesters. Apparently she had an uncle who was captured and they didn’t see him again for years. Frightening.
Of course when you are in China – the propaganda is that the whole thing didn’t happen. If you search on the web when you are there nothing comes up. How freaking strange is that.
Next up was the Forbidden City which served as the Imperial Palace for a lazy 600 years. Each Emperor between the 1300s up until the early 1900’s lived here. He lived here with his empress and all of his concubines. Only eunuchs were allowed to work within the palace walls because the emperors were greedy and wanted to keep all the chicks to themselves haha.
All emperor’s had 1 wife and then a ton of concubines which are essentially kind of official mistresses. For a concubine to be set for life she needed to get knocked up to baby daddy emperor. Their job was to keep the big fella happy between the sheets and to produce as many crotch fruit for him as they could. And if you had a boy…..whoa baby you got elevated to awesome step-aside-barren-bitches status. There was a whole pecking order situation – can you imagine the crazy bitch fights that would’ve happened behind those forbidden walls. Lordy lordy.
The Manchurin emperor had only around 70 concubines – seems reasonable. But The Hun Emperor – well he was a greedy mofo and had over 3000. I mean talk about an overachiever. How exactly would one service so many vaginas??? And imagine when all those 3000 lady cycles lined up and shark week came to town. He would’ve been ducking for cover and running screaming from that damn city.
The gardens were lovely and this sign gave me a giggle. It’s true – lying is not a good thing haha.
Next we visited a traditional Hutong area. These are getting fewer and fewer in the inner city as modernisation takes over. I was really keen to go because it seems this is where you get a real glimpse into what traditional Beijing would’ve been like back in the day. The government just keeps a small portion for historical purposes and people still live in them today.
All of the doorways are off small lanes and alleyways and are built around a courtyard in the middle. Many have shared bathrooms – yes to this day shudder – and each house is interconnected so the communities are very close.
I loved the doorways and apparently the posts outside the door tell a story of how successful the residents inside are and sometimes they indicate what the head of the house did for a living. I really enjoyed our wander through here.
We had a wonderful lunch at a place recommended by our guide called Lost Heaven – the food was so delicious. We were in foodie heaven.
We spent the afternoon exploring the Temple of Heaven. What a stunning looking temple it is too. I can see why it is so popular.
Look at the stunning colours and intricate work as far as the eye can see
By some miracle when I walked around the side I got this shot with virtually noone in it
It was built in the 1400s and the reason it was so special was it was where the cool kids – aka Emperor and his gang went to pray to god in heaven for good harvests, more money, more concubines, just more more more….
As we were leaving we ran into this group of gorgeousness. Oh honey’s – all the yesses for your outfits. It’s called fashion – look it up!!!
They were visiting from out of town and had dressed up for the occasion. I, as the blond fat westerner superstar, was quite the drawcard for them and I have to say with far-shun like these gal’s had on – I was drawn to them too. Many selfies later we hugged and said goodbye.
Back to the hotel for a quick pit splash and sparkle up and it was off to a Hot Pot dinner at HaiDiLao Huo Guo (try saying that 3 times fast). The place had good reviews and I was dying to give Hot Pot a go.
So essentially you have hot broth and thinly sliced meat and veggies and you cook the food yourself. And you pay them lots of money for the privilege. Wait….what….that doesn’t sound right? Yep it’s true, they have totally conned us into doing our own cooking. I hope they remembered to pay my super contribution when they issued my paycheck. You do get to wear a sexy apron while you work though so there’s that.
We went with one side of mushroom broth and the other side a chilli broth. The chilli was HAWTTTTT!!! Husband was such a wussy pussy, couldn’t cope. I may have yelled “you can’t handle the heat” in my best Jack Nicholson voice. And for some reason I can eat really hot chilli dishes so I scoffed it like the hungry queen that I am. (my eyes may have started weeping but I ain’t no quitter).
Even though you do have to cook your own food, they do give you a little show – well a Mask Dance to be more precise. I had kind of built this up in my head to be more amazing than it actually was, not gonna lie. But hey it entertained me while I scrubbed the floors.
Talk about working hard for the chilli. In the end I’m not sure I’m a big fan of hot pot. I didn’t know how long to keep the food in the broth and ultimately it became a stressful dining experience.
Afterwards we did another quick wander down Wangujing Street then it was off to bed after a long interesting day.