So, we’ve arrived. We spent the first day recovering from the flight and I got through the welcome meeting without falling asleep and talking rubbish, always a good start I feel; or possibly not. Maybe I dreamedthe whole thing￼￼!
Yesterday we visited the primary Beijing sites. It doesn’t matter how much I try to explain at the welcome meeting about how busy the streets of the city are, and how many people I’m moving around, the first experience for the clients of the crowds in China could be a little overwhelming. People come from all over China to visit Tiananmen Square, and they sometimes queue for hours￼￼ to visit Chairman Mao’s mausoleum￼.
The southern edge of the square is the first and original Beijing main railway station.
In 1949 Chairman Mao announced the creation of the new Communist nation of China While standing in Tiananmen Square. This year China celebrated 70 years￼￼￼ as a modern nation with a huge parade through Beijing. Some of the decorations from the parade are still visible in the square. The square also contains the national flag and flagpole, still watched over by a portrait of Chairman Mao himself and carefully guarded by members of the Armed Forces from the Army, Navy and Air Force￼￼.
Under Chairman Mao was portrait, you go over a small Chinese bridge crossing a moat and through a tunnel to enter the Forbidden City, The ancient home of the Chinese Emperor. I’ve been before several times and it never fails to impress. The experience is improved by some Chinese young people who like to dress in traditional clothes of the period, just for fun and selfies￼.
After a busy morning it was time for lunch and then time to visit a traditional Chinese tea house, where they gave us a demonstration of how to correctly select, prepare and drink tea. They take a pretty seriously over here. They are scathing about our habit of adding milk and sugar to tea￼￼, A practice that they seem to regard as being almost barbaric! They also didn’t have much that was good to say about Yorkshire tea bags, or indeed any teabags. I now know how to say “factory sweepings” in Mandarin.
The day finished with a visit to the summer Palace of the Dowager Empress. It is of course autumn, so the water lilies were not looking at their best, but it is still a beautiful location￼.