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GSI China Trip – Forbidden City – Summer Palace

April 14, 2010
Greater Spokane inc. China Trip Day 3

Our group had a fascinating, very productive day in Beijing.  We all traveled together like ‘sticky rice’ and went to the largest public square (90 acres) in the world – Tian ‘an Men Square (the gate of heavenly peace) and the Forbidden City (was once forbidden to commoners).  Thousands of people were lined up to view Chairman Mao’s embalmed body lying in his crystal coffin, which is raised from a refrigerated chamber.  The Forbidden City was home to 24 emperors (how many concubines?) over the course of 500 years.  Each entrance has a threshold to keep away evil spirits.  The group also saw the Summer Palace and learned about the ‘Dragon lady,’ who wanted 108 different types of food at each meal. 

A little about Beijing (if my notes are correct): The city has a total population of 15 million, and there are 4 million cars.  Because of the 1.3 billion population in all of China, family planning is the rule with each couple restricted to having one child.  If their first child is disabled, another child is allowed.  Twins are lucky.  There are more boys than girls or men than women.

–          31 provinces in China

–          Avg. monthly income in Beijing: $600 RMB

–          White skin is in.  Face bleach and the like are sold.

–          Lucky numbers: 1, 3, 5, 7, 9. 9 is the emperor’s lucky number, 8 is wealth.  4 is not a good number (similar to pronunciation of death).

–          Main blvd is 30 miles long and 12 lanes wide.

–          Starbucks, KFC, Dairy Queen, Mcdonalds all here.

–          People workout in the parks in the morning by practicing ballroom dancing, singing, and tai ji.

–          Crystals are good luck, jade = forever, and a narrow bed means longevity and a long life.

–          The Birds Nest Olympic Stadium has 90,000 seats and situated perfectly according to Fung Shui.

–          Our tour guide’s grandmother had her feet bound, starting when she was five. 

Click here to watch videos and view pictures.  Having trouble with posting graphics from China, so not sure they are all coming through!

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