the forbidden city

November 26th, 2011 / by / in: travel / 1 Response

The Forbidden City was the home of the Emperor for almost 500 years. 500 years. This place is old. Living in Canada, it’s always amazing to visit countries with such a rich history, and China is probably the richest of the rich in terms of history. Everything is so old. And big. Castles in Europe having nothing on the Forbidden City. This place is massive. I can’t even explain how big it is. You just need to go to Beijing and see it for yourself.

Waiting in line to buy tickets. I forgot how much they cost, but like everything in China, probably close to nothing. (I’m already planning an alternate future where I move to China and am rich. I know, I know. But still.)

THIS PLACE IS ENDLESS! Each hall leads into another hall.

The Hall of Supreme Harmony, the largest of the halls.

The gold was scratched off by intruders in the late 1800s.

Our guide, Annie! She was awesome.

 Everything is SO. DETAILED. So intricate! And it only took 14 years to build this place. The Sagrada Familia really has no excuse for not being finished yet.

 I’m telling you, this place is huge. China knows how to do things big.

I don’t know if this happens to anyone else, but sometimes when I visit places that I’ve heard about and seen before a million times, it almost seems fake. Like I’m visiting the China pavillion at Epcot. I have to remind myself that I’m ACTUALLY IN CHINA and this is actually real and not made by Disney.

 It would be really fun to play hide and seek in the Forbidden City.

Just the biggest palace in the world. No big deal.

 Pretty, right? 美!

Riding a Beijing bus. Yes, the fare is 1 yuan. That’s $0.16 CAD. Let me repeat that: SIXTEEN CENTS! The TTC in Toronto costs THREE DOLLARS to ride.

 We decided to get Peking duck for lunch. Obviously we needed to eat Peking duck in Beijing. As I explained in a previous entry, I don’t usually eat meat, but will for a culinary experience. First, they brought us some smoking (dry ice) fruit for some reason. They also came out and showed us the duck they were about to carve for us.

The condiments for Peking duck. Various vegetables, garlic, sauces, and sugar.

The first course of duck. Amazing, perfectly crisp duck skin. Dipped in sugar, it was so good. This is why I can’t be a real vegetarian. Life is too short to not at least try crispy duck skin. Sorry, real vegetarians.

Eggplant, which I thought was delicious. Eggplant in China is somehow way tastier.

More duck courses! There was duck soup, along with the rest of the duck meat, duck legs, thin crepe-like pancakes to roll the duck in, herbs, and puffy dough that was also used to roll up the duck meat. You basically take a pancake and stuff it with some duck meat and whatever condiments you want. Drizzle it with some of the delicious thick sweet sauce and roll it up like a cigar. Eat. Swoon.

The best/worst part of this meal was that it cost less than it costs for me to eat lunch at McDonalds at home.

Next entry: The Great Wall of China! Is it really great? (Answer: yes.)

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