Monday, February 2, 2015

Beijing: Stumbling Upon the Forbidden City

November 29, 2014
Okay so after surviving that train ride, we took the train and bus to where we were staying. We booked a place on airbnb for $16/night + service charges. Quite cheap! It's just a private room and there was another guest staying next door but that's ok.
Breakfast. We go to Beijing to eat McDonald's and Wedone (pastries). We always end up traveling and eating KFC or McDonald's lolol.

So we were researching last minute things and then headed for The Great Wall. We took a cab to Deshengmen for the bus that takes us there. But when we got there it seemed like we missed the last bus even though this travel site I found said there were still supposed to be buses running..
So we decided to switch around our plans and tour around the city instead. The pollution was bad anyways (it looked foggy even at ground level) so hopefully the next day would clear up for the Great Wall. 

We took the train to Tiananmen to look around that, since that to me was the place you think of when you think of Beijing (the Mao portrait and all). 
At the midpoint, we saw this building that looked important because there were soldiers in front of it.
Me: Can we go inside? 
Him: No
Me: what is this place?
Him: -Chinese gibberish that I didn't understand-

Eh, I guess it doesn't sound as funny when I type it out >< Maybe I'm just not funny D: But Cory laughed at me for asking about it as if I knew what the place was, but really had no idea. Oh yeah, it's actually the 中南海 (Zhongnanhai) where the government officials are, apparently.
But there's an East and West to it so we ended up going West and planned to go down that way and make our way back East. Halfway through we got distracted and ended up at the Forbidden Palace at one of the odd entrances (usually an exit). 
I felt like.. "Oh, this is it...?" So we spent a good 10 minutes walking to the main entrance and still didn't see anything good about it! And the whole time I was wondering why it's such a big deal when it's just a giant square gated with palace-like doors. Not impressed at all. 

So we walked BACK to the middle of the square wondering what to do next. We saw that they were selling admission tickets for the Palace Museum. 

Me: Eh.. Well they have the Palace Museum, do you want to go to that?
Cory: I don't really care 
Me: Eh I'm not really into museums though
Cory: Me neither
Me: And its 40 kuai... ($6.50)
Cory: I don't really care what we do
Me: Ok, let's just go since we're already here
Bought the tickets and it was only 20 kuai because of the student discount (make sure to bring your student ID!)
When we walked into the Museum, we realized that this was the Forbidden City. There you have it, two idiots who couldn't find the Forbidden City and found it only because we felt obligated to go to a museum because we were already here. -applause- 
Photo courtesy of Cory
Garden place at the end of the Museum. The rocks remind me of 豫园 if you remember from [here]. 

Erm the palace itself was very pretty. I want to live in a palace that big :( but a house would probs be like one room of that place because it was huge. There was so many sections to this place! Like you go in and see the palace and surrounding rooms and then there's a back which turns out to be like the same thing, and there's more and more behind each section. It was really cold that day so we tried not to stay too long. I'm not sure how long we spent here but it felt like it was enough. 

We wanted we tried to figure out a way to go back to the train station but the thing was far and I forgot how much the bus costs, I think maybe 10 RMB per person? Wait was it really 10? If yes we're such cheapos LOL. I swear it seemed higher though, but normal bus rides are only 1 kuai. And it wasn't that far away either (3km) so we decided to walk... Heh..

We ended up catching a different bus to the station. We wanted to hail a cab because it was starting to rain a lot (my poor Uggs...) but we weren't able to in the end because they were either all full or just not that many around grr.

So we navigated our way to Jing Yaa Tang (京雅堂) after trying so hard to find it. Damn you misleading maps!!! We ended up walking around many consulates looking for it, even having to ask these military guys for direction. When we got to the building, we were confused as to where it was and it turned out to be in the basement. 
It was still quite early so it was empty and we got away without a reservation. We ordered  烤鸭 because eating that is a must in Beijing imo, even though we just had it two days ago for the Thanksgiving dinner. 
A guy brings out the entire duck and cuts it in front of us. Cool, yeah? Except after the initial minute of excitement, we stopped paying attention. And we ended up with a small plate of 烤鸭 and wondered what happened to the rest of it while we weren't looking. 
You can see through the window thing that that's where they roast the ducks :0
Sticky rice stuffed chicken wings

When we paid the bill, it turns out that the girl only put in an order for half a duck >:( while that saved us a bit, considering how expensive the duck ($30 for that dish, I think) was, I wanted my duck D: tbh it does taste pretty similar to the boxes that my mom buys except it's more expensive here and seems to be smaller portions it seems ^^;;;; I'm not sure if I preferred this one or Lao Beijing from the Thanksgiving dinner.

Address of Jing Yaa Tang if you're interested:
The Opposite House, 11 Sanlitun Lu Fl. B1, Chaoyang district, Beijing 100027
We walked about the plaza next door but not like we can afford anything there cuz it's like high end stuff :( we walked toward the station after that and found a more...affordable shopping plaza, so we spent some time looking around there as well before finally going home for real. 

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