The adventures of Bill in Beijing…
What do you do in Beijing? You go to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City of course, so let’s roll.
Before you get there though, if you go the stupid-wrong-subway-stop route I took the first time, you pass the National Preforming Arts Center on your right. It’s a gorgeous half dome, sort of egg shaped building, covered in glass surrounded by a manmade lake and walk way around it. It’s really sharp looking, particularly the morning I walked by where there was this older guy ‘exercising’. First he was doing Tai Chi while I took a couple pictures. Then, after a quick breather and a smile at the Meiguo (American, that’s me) out came, yep, the Kung Fu. Large impressive thingy? Check. 100 year old guy who would Kung Fu me to death practicing in front of it? Check. Yep, we’re in Beijing.
For those unaware, Tiananmen Square is one of the largest city plazas in the world. It’s the combined size of a whole lot of football fields. If you go to Wikipedia, there are probably a dozen people arguing about the exact number of square inches.
It really is massive, I’ve never seen anything like it in North America. Tiananmen absolutely dwarfs anything you’ve ever seen. I do remember it’s more than 100 acres.
With the way the square is laid out, it really does feel like you’re in the center of everything. In the middle is the People’s Heroes monument, with the four sides each being flanked by something massive. There’s the Great Hall on one side, and on the opposite side the National Museum. Both are gigantic and impressive, sort of like the Capital building in DC.
On the other two sides are the two gates. One by Mao’s Mausoleum, and the other of course is the entrance to the Forbidden City.