On day three, we woke up early in the morning to be greeted with a breakfast buffet. It was exquisite. There was a mix of Eastern and Western foods. After that, we made our way to Tiananmen Square, the largest city square in the world, with the capacity of holding over 1 million people. After arriving to the square, we were greeted by thousands of Chinese and foreign tourists. I have never seen so many people in one place in my life. After getting through the crowds, we were able to stand inside the square and get an idea of the vastness of the structure.
From here, we entered through multiple gates into the Forbidden City. The complex is over 700 years old and served as living quarters for the emperors who reigned during this time. Walking through the complex, it seemed as if it was never ending. With 9,999 rooms there was much to see but not enough time to see it.
While in the Forbiden City, we got to see a four star restroom officially rated by the Chinese government. While restrooms can me nice, they are completely different fro restrooms in the United States. To use a restoom in China, you must master the art of squating. The toilets are low to the ground.
After that we went to a Hutong, a sort of neighborhood in China. This was an area where many common people lived. It was certainly a big change from the modern architecture, high-rise buildings and broad throughways we had been surrounded by near our hotel. There were narrow alleys and multiple houses that shared a common bathroom. Our mode of transportation through the neighborhood was the rickshaw. Even with all of the commotion going on in the neighborhood, it was a calming experience.
We visited a local family’s home at which they served us a traditional Chinese meal. As we sat at the round table, dish after dish was served to us. It was all freshly made, nothing like what you would find at your local Chinese restaurant in the United States. We ate and were taught how to make dumplings, the symbol of family reunion in China. Afterwards, we visited the local bell and drum towers.
After that, we went to the zoo to see China’s national treasure, Panda. They were so cute and playful, jumping and running around. I never thought that watching a few pandas would amuse me so much.
One thing I will not miss about China is the traffic! There is traffic everywhere and they are unmerciful! I am so glad we do not have to drive in Beijing! If you do not like driving in the U.S. you definitely would not like driving in China. There is traffic even when it is not rush hour! Another interesting thing is that vehicles are always given the right-away. If you see a car, bike, or motorcycle coming, you better move out the way or get ran over!