A lot of stamina was needed to do Tian'an Men Square, Forbidden City and the Summer Palace -all on the same day ! Sounds crazy but time was tight. Had only 5 days to do a touch- and - go Beijing's star attractions, so all thoughts of beauty sleep didn't surface. Just get up and go!! The group of 72 of us had to be split under 2 different tour guides. Luckily, the weather was favourable and of course, the happy holiday spirit saw us through.
The sheer size of Tian' an Men Square told us we had to stay close to one another. Getting lost with knowing the lingo was not my cuppa tea! We saw the long queue making its trail to enter Chairman Mao's mausoleum. Linda, our guide said it was out of our itinerary as people come as early as 4 am to queue. Among the foreigners, were largely locals who have come to view Mao Zedong in his crystal cabinet. Tian'an Men Square hogged the headlines especially in regard to the 1989 pro democracy demonstrators who were forced out by army tanks and soldiers. So, this is it. I'm here!
For the faithful and tourists alike - all throng to view the embalmed body of Mao Zedong
You'll find no benches at the Square. Just rest your weary self on the concrete ground if you have too. Many people did and just watched the world at their feet!
The 'five star red flag', China's national flag is raised at dawn and lowered at dusk every day
Male lion symbolizes power - shown with a paw on a ball.
Tian' an Men Guangchang - the Square of the Gate of Heavenly Peace - the largest public square in the world - a vast open concrete expanse at the heart of modern Beijing - our guide repeatedly stressed to keep close to her. On a normal day it has about 20,000 visitors. All guides hold their 'special' flags high - recognise them and you'll not get lost! Believe me, just wandering off to snap a few photos without taking note of time can be unnerving as the people merge into one another and suddenly you have that lost in the jungle feeling!!
Soaking in the atmosphere with hordes of local tourists.
Gigantic portrait of ex- Chairman Mao looking over his people at the Ming Dynasty gate -the spot where he declared to the world The People's Republic of China on 1 October, 1949.
On the right:Long Live the Unity of The Peoples of the World
Am impressed by the cleanliness of the Square. This man was doing a good job - wheels a -spinning to maintain cleanliness. No rubbish bins - only bags placed here and there to collect throwaways - used cans etc.
The smartly clad uniform of the soldiers. Many were positioned here and there. If they do not turn their heads - left- right - timed to perfection - they'd be really like statues!
Monument to the People's Heroes - dedicated to the men and women who died in the struggles for their country to make China independent in the century before the Communists came to power.
Great Hall of The People - seat of the Chinese legislature
THE Bird's Nest as we saw in the early evening for a quick photo stop before making our way to the hotel. Yes, reality hits - it's massive steel alright. The colours that made it so magical as we sat glued to our tvs during the 2008 Summer Olympics were missing TILL we passed by on the bus during the night. That drew appreciative aaahhhs from us . So did the WATER CUBE.