Day two and a visit to the Forbidden City with a two hour tour walking from one end to another. My feet are sore but this was an incredible and inspiring trek. Our tour guide Zoe told us we would not get to visit inside and see the tomb of Mao. I was disappointed I did not get to see Mao in his crystal coffin. You are unable to take anything into the building. Only exception is self and passport, no cameras no handbags etc. Tienanmen Square is larger than I expected. Plenty of walking means we are getting more than our daily need of exercise. This walk included many stairs. The ice meant careful maneuvering of feet as you stepped and side stepped to keep upright.
A welcome lunch at the Laoshe Teahouse and puppet show was next on the agenda. This was so wonderful. A beautiful show with a crane and tortoise. The food was an amazing banquet that just kept coming and our table devoured everything. I particularly enjoyed the tofu filled with shrimp but the most popular dish was the duck rolled in pancakes.
Beijing Foreign Studies University was huge. The library was beautiful and exceptionally neat and clean. My student Choy (Pineapple) this his nickname as he loves pineapple, told me his teacher said the library is filled with books for show as the students rarely take them out and make use of them due to their use of digital technology. While there we got caught in a snow storm while walking around campus. It was very cold but we were all thrilled to be in the storm and very excited. Even the students were excited as this was quite unusual, especially this time of year. Emily one of our student guides accompanied me for most of this visit. We enjoyed the students very much and they were chatty and very funny. Choy hopes to visit and study in Australia in about two years.
Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press This was the university’s own press where students are able to assist with the translation of foreign works. For instance I saw the complete works of William Shakespeare. There is Academic and Dictionary and Multi Language Publishing also. One of the highlights was a beautiful large handmade book depicting ancient dynasties all in a fold out style across a large table. I found this written work to be a piece of artwork and it was extraordinary the detail that had gone into this article.
After getting back onto our bus, feeling cold and exhausted, the day was not yet over. We soon headed out to dinner, walking in the snow again where we were directed to a noodle bar. We had noodles of course and I enjoyed a cold light beer. Beer is cheaper than water, go figure that one out. After dinner we walked back in the snowstorm to a little theatre company and watched an acrobatic performance about the history of Beijing. We were all excited to be going to see a Chinese Kung Fu performance. It was definitely not what we had expected.
After the show ended we climbed on board our bus and headed to our hotel. Once we arrived Jan and I and Roslyn and Cathy one of our guides and her husband Den all went across the road to enjoy a foot massage. Cathy got us all a free gift hand and arm massage included in our price. It was then time to say goodnight as we were all very tired and I personally could barely keep my eyes open.