Alicia and Anne
relaxing in the back of the bus
people had canceled because of September 11th leaving only 25 in the
group. That meant there was plenty of room on the bus for us to spead
out and, with such a small group, it was easy to get near and hear
the tour guides as they explained the history and significance of
what we were seeing. As the bus headed toward our destination, our
local Beijing guide, Jack, provided a running commentary on the history
and background of the sight we were about to visit. He also provided
much information on the history of China, lifestyle of the people,
the government and much more.
with our visit to Tiananmen Square we were introduced to a few uniquely
Chinese things. Among them ... the "Chinese weather"
and the "dollar people" .
the weather. I'm sure you can see from the pictures on this
page the skies were cloudy and relatively gloomy looking. Unfortunately,
with few exceptions, this was the weather we experienced throughout
China until we landed in Hong Kong. The Sun was something rarely
seen, and when we did see the Sun it was for brief periods only.
We had selected early October orginally for our tour, but those
dates were already booked requiring us to leave a couple of weeks
later. This was still the tail-end of the high season and the weather
should have cooperated. In reality the weather was very tolerable
for traveling. It wasn't hot and it really wasn't cold. The temperatures
hovered around the 55 to 60 degree mark making it very comfortable.
There was also very little rainfall the entire time we were in China.
I remember only two times it rained. Once when we visited the Great
Wall, what a dissappointment that was because of the rain, and once
one evening on the cruise which didn't bother us. But the lack of
Sun surely affected the quality of the pictures we could take.
the dollar people. Wherever you go throughout China as a tourist
you will encounter the "dollar people." These are the
entrepraneurial soles who are trying to sell you their wares. Anything
from postcards, to Mao's little red book, folding fans, books, you
name it. They're referred to as the dollar people because just about
anything can be purchased with an American dollar. In reality, usually
several of the same item can be purchased with a single dollar.
Bargaining with the seller is traditional, and if you show the slightest
bit of interest they will follow you to kingdom come to make the
sale. At first the bargaining was fun, but then it quickly became
a hassle. Especially when you realized that you were bargaining
over meer pennies. But, you know what they say don't you? When in
Rome do as the Romans do! So we played the bargaining game continually.
Sorry I have no pictures of these dollar people as I tired to show
as little interest as possible to keep them from following me.
Tiananmen Square you pass directly under Mao's portrait and through
Tiananmen, the Gate of Heavenly Peace, to a walkway leaading to
China's Imperial Palace, known throughout the world as the Forbidden
Palace. Continue to next page and enjoy more cloudy