Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
After some mushroom soup and steamed spinach to start with the duck arrived. I should have snapped a picture of the guy carving it, but it felt too "touristy" to me, but thankfully, Quanjude had some photos online so you can get the idea. The carver wheeled over a mini carving station with my half duck and quickly carved it into slices. There was a special plate for the pieces of all fat as apparently these were the "most desirable." Then my server showed me how to wrap the duck into pancakes with spring onion and hoisen sause...she did it all with chopsticks...I may or may not have had to use my fingers to help assemple subsequent pancakes. The duck was pretty good...didn't love it, but definitely worth the experience! They use wood from peach or pear trees in the ovens to help make the sweet, not smokey taste.This mix of ancient and modern (found often througout China) cracked me up! But, truth be told, that cartoon duck was a marker for me that I was going into the correct building ;-)
Monday, June 20, 2011
My guide and I entered past the Zhengyangmen gate...or front gate which was built in 1419 during the Ming Dynasty.
Then into Tienanmen, which is the biggest square in the world...this picture does nothing to capture the full scope of how large the square is, so I looked up the stats - 440,000 square meters - about 6 football fields...holds 1 million people. As we were walking through I purposely did not ask about the 1989 massacre. About halfway through our walk through the square she said "you're not asking the question most people ask." Her view was that the government had reacted a bit strongly, but they were doing it to protect the people as a whole. An example she sited was that a young girl protesting had committed suicide for her cause, and that the government had to protect others from doing the same.Did you notice the snow in the square? I asked my guide when it has snowed (I lucked out with sunny skies for my time there!). She matter-of-factly replied - "the premiere ordered it to snow 2 days ago." When she saw my reaction she further explained that they had been in the midst of a 300 day drought so the premiere needed to do that for the farmers. I explained that we sometimes had droughts in the US, but the President never ordered changes in weather patterns, I think she thought this was a bit strange.
Not sure what Mao would think of me covering up his picture ;-) Go through the gate and you are at the entrance to the Forbidden City so stay tuned for more pictures!
Then I got home and was overwhelmed with work, life, etc and as some of you fellow bloggers may empathize, the longer I didn’t blog the more overwhelming “catching up” looked. But, catch up I will – if for nothing else than for me to look back at years longer and remember all the incredible experiences and amazing people in my life.
So back to mid February I go….Beijing and onwards!