The first day was cold and misty...not the ideal weather for tourist-ing around a city, but c'est la vie. Luckily our hotel was only a short walk from Tian'anmen Square, so that's where we started. It was cool to be in such a historic place!
The funniest part of this day is that I started to understand how much I stood out from the crowd. When Alex would stop and take a picture of me in front of a landmark, 2 or 3 other people would also take a picture of me! I got lots and lots and lots of stares. Alex also was quite a phenomenon. One guy took a picture of him--he was trying to be sly, but Alex noticed--and then the guy was startled when Alex took a picture of him!
This is looking into Tian'anmen Square. The tall skinny thing is a monument to the people, and the big building in the background is Chairman Mao's memorial.
They really do love Chairman Mao!
Here's Alex in front of the gate in Tian'anmen. As you can see, Chairman Mao's portrait has been hung in a very honorable, prominent place!
There were groups of soldiers marching by every 20 minutes or so. I thought it would be funny to get a picture of me marching with them. When they realized what I was doing, they didn't think it was funny. At all.
We left Tian'anmen Square and took the subway (what an adventure! From the looks I got, it was not a place that tourists frequent!) to the Lama and Confucius Temples. They were both beautiful, serene places filled with people praying and paying their respects.
The Confucius Temple grounds. That's Confucius himself. Well, not really, but you know.
A giant bell and bell ringer at the Lama Temple. You can see the ornate architecture in the background.
If you'd like to see more pictures of Tian'anmen Square, the two temples, our hotel, our first attempt at ordering lunch and tea, and the infamous "pant slits" on the kids, check out the Day 1 photo album.
Next I'll post about Day 2, including the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, and the world's hardest-to-follow tour guide!
Thanks for visiting!