Thursday, March 26, 2015.
Day 4 in Beijing. Today, we visited two key tourist spots in Beijing: the Temple of Heaven and the Forbidden City and its surrounding “dians”.
Breakfast started off as usual at 6:30 and we were again one of the first to go in. Yay! Dibs on the table and the first line-up at the buffet line :D.
Their tea-soaked egg was not strong in flavour and I loved their cold cut today — some kind of mixed sausage. My mom also got three bowls of noodles. So good! It tasted even better with a kick of spicy oil :).
Our first stop of the day was at the beautiful Temple of Heaven. Again, the last time I was here, it was scorching hot, super shiny, and full of people. Since we got here in the morning, the air was crisp and clean with a slight breeze. You could actually stand there as long as you wanted for a picture without having to worry about sunburned lol. What a huge difference in weather and experience. 🙂
Because of that, I got to take way more photos here this time including some jump shots too.
Then we went to a tea emporium where the goal is to sell, sell, sell. Actually, this place was way more educational and enjoyable than any of the other salesy places.
We separated into two rooms: one for Cantonese speaking and one for Mandarin speaking. The place was really nicely decorated and there were three small turtles in the fountain too!
A lady explained the four different types of tea to us and we got to sample each. The first one was a “snow tea” and actually tasted very good. It left a bright and honey taste in your throat.
Here’s the brief notes I took during the presentation since I found it all rather fascinating: 🙂
Green tea must be boiled at exactly 80 degrees
Pu le tea can be drank overnight and is alkaline. No expiry. Lasts 100 years. Absorbs smell. The older the tea, the better.
Two types of pu le tea: 10 years and 22 years
1 tea brick equals 5 tea round-shape ones”
As good as the tea was and tea seemed to be the most likely thing we would have bought from the trip, we didn’t end up buying any either. We just don’t trust these places. Instead, had some tea snacks (crunchy fried taro sticks and dry green tea squares) and took pictures around the area.
Lunch time!!! For lunch, we had Peking duck as part of our dishes too. YUM!!!!! They gave us two plates ironically put on a duck plate and we went to town.
The skin on the duck was just right and tasted sooooo good! The meat was juicy and moist too :D. The slices of flour used to wrap up the duck was also very thin. Loved this! Definitely had more than my fair share of Peking Duck but so did everyone around the table — it was just very well cooked!
After lunch, we headed towards a huge and significant part of Beijing and anyone visiting Beijing would be visiting this spot. Other than the Great Wall of China, it is none other than the Public Square and the Forbidden City. ^_^
To get to the square, we walked through a street full of restaurants and shops and used to be a fishing district. Madame Tussauds of Beijing is also situated here. 🙂
We approached the square, took pictures, and headed inside and towards the Forbidden City. Again, the difference in visiting during the spring is that it’s WAY less crowded — I’m talking about more than a quarter less people than during peak season in the summertime, more enjoyable temperatures, and more opportunities to take pictures. I know I took way more pictures this time around because the mood was more relaxes and conducive to picture-taking. The atmosphere during the summer is more rushed, nervous, yet anxious. This visit is relaxed, carefree, and peaceful.
We spent a total of three hours in the palace and enjoyed it all. Lots of walking though. 🙂
Before dinner, we headed to the jewelry shop and showcase centre where again too much time was spent on being sold into buying jade pieces. -_-. We sat in a room to be talked at and I was so bored that I played on my phone. Then we were led upstairs to see their other jade pieces and some tour mates went nuts over how some pieces originally priced at 7000 RMB was suddenly reduced to 1000 RMB. In the end, some funny business happened where the sales person switched the pieces that they wanted purposefully under the guise that the new pieces would be better and tried to gyp the customer. Good thing that tourmate realized the switch and decided not to buy. However, some others did buy…
We went for a later dinner at 8pm. Yummm, kung pao chicken, fried beef, meatballs, scrambled eggs — my highlights of dinner.
We got back to the hotel at 9pm and I slept early like a baby at 11pm. One last full day of Beijing tomorrow before we leave! Oh, and we saw some beautiful night views of the Water Cube and Bird’s Nest at night.
Beijing’s trying to vie for the 2022 Winter Olympics it seems! And who knew that the Bird’s Nest could be projected as a huge big screen? Cool. 🙂