How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE

Beijing Part 5, Day 3 (cont’d and finished)


Temple of Heaven:

The entrance to the Temple is a wide avenue meant for masses of foot traffic. It is clean and well-traveled, not only by foreigners like us, but by Chinese people as well. I did not see wrappers or bottles lying around anywhere.

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Click below for a a three-minute video, which explains better than I can. Sorry for the advertisement. The first few seconds will show you the exercise in the park again but keep watching. Those pink feathers the man is tossing with his feet are the Badminton birdie I had referred to earlier.

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The English 8 Group (us) had removed our light jackets. The sun rose higher and the temperature grew warmer, yet around us young Chinese ladies wore (wool?) leggings under skirts, long sleeved jackets, heavy pants (no jeans) and high heels. I love heels and wear them on occasion, but not in this kind of environment. There were lots of stairs to climb and broken concrete and uneven bricked areas all around. How they walked in those shoes without breaking their necks, and for so far and long, I cannot fathom.

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  • The park area is 660 acres
  • Commoners were not allowed inside it’s gates until 1918
  • It is a UNESCO World Heritage site
  • All the buildings were refreshed prior to the 2008 Olympics
  • Although the doors remained open, visitors were barred from entering. We fought for a spot to look inside from the blocked doorway but could not make out much.


Forbidden City:

We walked until our feet screamed for mercy. Again washroom locations were uppermost in our minds and where bottled water could be purchased. The following video is an hour and a half long. I cannot remember all the interesting history we learned, but take time to take a peak:

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The bus driver dropped us the the restaurant. The French group followed soon afterwards as well as lots of locals. All platters of food were automatically delivered and placed on the large lazy Susan in the centre of the table. Choices of one (small) free glass of soft drink, water, or beer were again offered. All the food served was family style. Our plates for eating were smaller than some bread and butter plates at home.

  • French fries (What? Shocked us too)
  • Deep fried, breaded white fish (mild taste)
  • Cooked cauliflower
  • Noodles (tasty)
  • Thinly sliced beef and cucumber platter
  • Beef meatballs with onions and green peppers
  • One large egg pancake (the size of a dinner plate)
  • White rice
  • Soup with ribbons of Nori in it (I didn’t try it)
  • Green tea
  • Peeled oranges, sections pulled apart, and arranged on a plate for dessert

Note: Veggies were not plentiful like they are in the Chinese food we see in the West. They appeared to be more for decoration, except for plentiful onions in meat dishes, along with a few slices of green pepper. I ate till my tummy felt happy. I had no complaints about the food.


Tian an Men Square

The bus couldn’t bring us closer to the Square and we set out on foot. Again. Shortly before entering the grounds, we passed a strip mall across from it featuring souvenir shops and the like. Sue asked if we might shop, but Robert shook his head. Not a chance. We had a tight schedule. (Check out the writing on the building.)

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The Square is so huge, the danger of being trampled during a ceremony or demonstration crossed my mind. The Square accommodates one million people. That’s the size of 90 American football fields. Soldiers still patrol the area,  although they look way too young to me.

  • The monument of the heroes of the revolution is here

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  • The Great Hall of the People (in the background)

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  • The museum of history and revolution. We were there at the wrong time and it was closed. I don’t believe we had been scheduled to visit anyway.

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  • The Mao Zedong Memorial Hall where he lies embalmed in a glass case since his death in 1976. We did not go inside the Hall either. This building is at one end of the Square.

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Tsingtao beer was served, the best beer in China we were told. Ernesto ordered a bottle. I had the one small free glass a change from the water I drank all day. Sue preferred pop or water and the rest chose water.

  • Sliced sausage, fungus (think of weird mushrooms) and cucumbers
  • Cooked green salad (leaves of some kind)
  • Rice
  • Chicken with carrots and cucumbers
  • Duck meat with celery
  • Chicken with celery
  • Battered deep fried fish
  • Sesame bread plus onions and peppers (can’t remember what this looked like)
  • Spring rolls (exactly eight)
  • Soup (forgot to write what kind)
  • Watermelon slices for dessert

Offered separately, for which we needed to pay, were special coffees and ice cream. The waitress quoted 20 Yuan for either (about $4.00 Cdn / approx. $3.30 USD). Sue pointed out the prices posted over the ice cream freezer were 3.50 and 5.00 Yuan. Nope. The price was 20 Yuan. Non-negotiable. We must have stuck out like tourists. With money.

Our restaurant had been backed onto a park-like setting with a large pond of stagnant water. It wasn’t clean and had ugly, black and swampy plants growing in it.

We had time to kill before the bus came at 6:30 to drive to the Opera. Some of our group decided on a walk in the park. Sue and I chose to sit and take a load off. We’d done enough walking all day. My feet shrieked and uttered profanities. No wonder—they must have walked 50 miles on our first day out.

Beijing Opera 7:30 p.m.

Before the performance, a demonstration was given on stage of a male performer applying face make-up and donning a costume with a dresser assisting.


This is not an art form I appreciated, although the costumes were colourful and dazzling. One of the men in our group complained he couldn’t even catch a nap.

We arrived at the hotel somewhere between nine and ten o’clock. A jam-packed day three had ended. My brain, over-saturated with information, shut down. Goodnight Beijing. Hello pillow and bed.

Next on June 27th: Beijing Day 4 – The Great Wall

To read from the beginning, click on the China tab at the top of the page


Author: Let's CUT the Crap!

I'm getting a little LONG in the tooth and have things to say about---ouch---AGEing. I believe it's certainly a state of mind but sometimes it's nice to hear that you're NORMAL. I enjoy reading by the truckload. I'm a grandma but I don't feel OLD although I'm not so young anymore. My plan is to stick it out as long as I can on this lovely planet and only will leave it kicking and screaming!

104 thoughts on “Beijing Part 5, Day 3 (cont’d and finished)

  1. French fries surprised me. You walked through history. Kinda eery to see the square so empty when reminded of all that came before. Great post. Happy weekend. 🙂


    • Yes. They just had the 25th anniversary at the beginning of this month for what the square will be remembered.

      Thanks, Paulette, for reading even though you’re busy. A happy weekend to you too. How is LL?


      • Hey my friend, Tess. Never too busy to read your great writing but to think of constructing words into a story, that takes time and thinking, lol. I’m at the tail end of my second book plus just started a new job. LL is thriving and now eating us out of house and home. She’s a gem, acting more like a normal fur baby daily, now she’s barking at the boogie men in the street to protect us. First for weeks nothing came out of her depressed mouth. Tks for asking. She sends you a special wag. ❤


      • Wow, Paulette. You ARE busy. I look forward to more good reads.
        Happy to hear LL is thriving and all because you have a huge heart. ❤


  2. Whew! I got tired just reading about your day – your FULL day! Great experience, and thank you for writing about it. I did lots of traveling many years ago, and it’s good I did. It’s a very tiring (exhausting) endeavor. But, the memories don’t fade, especially when a journal is kept and photos and printed paraphernalia are showcased in an album! Thanks for this. China is a place I didn’t visit, but that’s OK. I had you to show me around!


  3. ‘We walked until our feet screamed for mercy’. I believe I may have to borrow that great traveling descriptor sometime Tess. No high heels for me either! It looks wonderful albeit a bit crowded.


  4. wow, fantastic pictures!


  5. Do I sense rigid control by Chinese guides? Or is this just my imagination run amok? Your reporting is detailed. How did it feel to be in Tiananmen Square? I’ll never forgot those brave students.


    • That first day was so jam-packed, we couldn’t fit in any dilly-dallying around but as for the shopping, there wasn’t much chance wherever and whenever one of us wanted to.

      Tiananmen was overwhelming because it’s so huge. I pictured what happened there in 1989 in my head. Ouch.


  6. “The Square accommodates one million people.”—!!!!Wow!!!!

    I’m not surprised to hear the plates and servings were smaller than what we’re used to in the West. Everything is so super-sized here. But it sounds like you had more than enough to eat, anyway. Bet you could’ve used a nice foot massage after that day!


  7. What a fascinating, exhausting, delightful and intriguing day! I really enjoyed my virtual travel with you and my feet extend their thanks to yours!


  8. The monument of heroes is inspiring.

    “I did not see wrappers or bottles lying around anywhere.” That’s because all the trash is in Miami.


  9. I love the sites you’ve seen and am AMAZED that this is only day three! Did you ever stop during a day and think there is no way you actually saw and did all that you did?


  10. That is a long day. I don’t know how you had energy for the Opera after all that walking. I thought you were my age???


  11. Tours are strenuous, exhausting but leave you with a feeling, I saw that, I did this, this I won’t forget, this I need to. Enjoying your travelogue Tess, sorry late in replying. xx


  12. Wow! You packed a lot into one day.Amazing history. Too bad there was no time for shopping but your pictures are the best souvenir anyway.


  13. Long day my friend. You are getting to see a great deal in a short amount of time, good thing you have a camera! Glad you are posting this, it is nice to tour vicariously through you.


    • Thank you, Val. I had my iPad mini and am surprised I remembered to take pictures because I was so ga-ga, and am not one to take pictures anytime. This was BIG so I did my best.

      We sure did get a good bang for our buck. Everything was scheduled, on-time, and always exact.


  14. I really am enjoying your trip.. You are bringing it all to life for me. I am sitting in a rustic bedroom in Tuscany having been transported to a busy tour of China.


  15. I think it’s a mistake for them to not schedule a bit of shopping time in! Most people like at least a quick look in the shops when they travel around to see what is on offer and get some souvenirs. I mean, I’m sure you had some shop time on other days, but there should be a brief opportunity everywhere you travel around (or maybe I’m just too much of a shopper!). The food is interesting, I was surprised to hear you say the veg was not so plentiful in the meals, I always imagined that the Chinese food we’re used too has more meat than the real thing and that theirs would be much more vegetable based. Do you think the french fries were for the benefit of the tourists, or did you get the impression that’s a general thing they have anyway?


  16. What a fabulous trip you are having.. and to get the information is incredible to me..The food looks as though I might actually like trying… 😉


  17. Dear travel writer extraordinaire. That is an add on to your many other wonderful handles. You have the knack of making it so real, even the sore feet. I am now soaking mine … aaahhhhh! Thanks Tess, great writing.


  18. Tess, this is a wonderful post – one of my all-time favorites! You really saw and did so much. And your photos are great. Isn’t the Temple of Heaven beautiful? It looks like it’s been freshly painted since we were there. And I love the description of your meals. I remember trying to eat “Spicy Rubber bands” (sea slug), but they were impossible to chew – hence the name! 🙂 Did you have a favorite food? ~Terri


    • Thank YOU, Terri. It was a jam-packed day. Whew. I don’t know how I stayed awake let alone take a few notes, without which this would be a fog by now.

      Our food was tame, with nothing unusual at all except for the fungus which was delicious. I don’t believe I had a favorite but I did want to see if the food changed much from place to place.


  19. Excellent post, my friend. I can’t begin to tell you how much I want to visit China. My partner Sara has worked there but I’ve never been. Gorgeous photos.

    Hugs from Ecuador,


    • Hi Kathryn. If you’re going to visit, don’t wait too long. China is changing. they’re tearing down old buildings and putting up new. There’s new growth everywhere (trees). The young people want the American Dream.


  20. thanks SO much for sharing these photos from your trip. fascinating. I love seeing the intricate detail on the buildings most of all. we watched a film called “forbidden city” last night, hows that for serendipity. 😉

    Have a fab summer!!! 🙂


  21. Fabulous photos, Tess. All your walking, however, has made my feet feel sore!


  22. I really enjoyed the photos and reading about your visit. Sounds like a marvelous time. 🙂


  23. I hope you’re a confirmed traveller now Tess because I love your travel writing.


  24. I wish I could visit the square in future…… It’s almost eerie what I have seen in pictures happening there and imagining the place in real life at the present.


  25. Whoa — look at that gorgeous blue sky! The temple gods were smiling on you. You passed on the embalmed remains? Heavens! Can’t imagine why.


  26. Those pics are beautiful! And French fries you say? Hm. Perhaps China is better than I first thought.


  27. A square that houses 1 million people? Mindboggling!


  28. ‘My feet and uttered profanities’. Oh Tess, you poor thing but I do love your descriptions, you depict the emotion so well in your excellent narration. Loved the first video, gave a good insight into the Temple but will have to come back for the second one. As usual, I’m catching up like crazy… 😮
    The food sounds good and so much to take in. What a whirlwind past three days, I bet you slept like a log that night! Fascinating tour 😀


  29. You’ve grabbed my husband’s interest. Maybe we’ll be going over there some time in the far future. 🙂


  30. Wow Tess. You were certainly one busy beaver. You might have needed a vacation after your vacation. Interesting menus. I always seem to be doing silent conversions with every purchase as well when in foreign countries. 🙂


  31. Monumental written on every stone!


  32. Man i would love to go to a place like this


  33. Tess – You do such a wonderful and creative travel blog. It’s fascinating to me from beginning to end and the videos offer so much added info. It seems you were offered all you might want to eat but seems not much was available in liquids. Am I overlooking something here? And, I think I heard your feet all the way back in the states. I so understand! I don’t want this blog series to be over.


    • For liquids, we could ‘order and pay for’ additional drinks. Sometimes different members of our group did. I don’t think the Chinese drink with their meals. Seems to me I might have heard that somewhere but am not sure.I don’t, as a rule, either. After the meal, I enjoy my drink of whatever. There was always tea as well. Seems I’d forgotten about that.


  34. This sounds like such a fun and busy day. I’m loving the pictures in your travel log, Tess.
    Hope all is well


  35. You have such a lovely way of phrasing, Tess: “This is not an art form I appreciated, ….” Laughter. One million people can be accommodated in the square! Wow. I don’t think we have anything comparable to that. That kind of scale and wasn’t it finished early 1400s? Thinking big, even then! Or perhaps that was their entire population? Loved the first video; haven’t seen the second – yet. Thanks for all this, Tess, truly enjoyable.


  36. All good info, Tess. I’m taking notes! I hope to follow in your footsteps one day.


  37. Those places look vast, I know why I like armchair travel…
    Thanks for the links. Did you try the echo-wall? Does it work?


    • No, we did not although we were at the Temple of Heaven. Huh. I don’t recall our tour guide mentioning anything about it but then we were in information overload and that was our first tour after landing and having a night’s sleep. Still jet lagged.


  38. The temps are beautiful !!! The details are incredible and it didn’t seem that packed with people. Looks lovely. The situation with the ice cream is quite sad, but it’s a well known problem 😦


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