Today is our last day in China! Our flight from Beijing to Shanghai was in the afternoon, which meant that we had the morning off to explore Beijing a bit.
Marty went to a trinketry market to buy some presents, and Emma and I went to the Forbidden City.
This city within the city was amazing! Although went did not have time to explore anything except the main parts, what we did see was moving. Every building within the Forbidden City has a name, such as "Temple of Supreme Harmony". The names are appropriate - the Forbidden City is a very harmonious and restful place.
Immediately after walking into the first main courtyard I could feel my mind relaxing; this place was a great antidote to the chaos, frantic activity and excitement that characterises most of what we saw in China.
The names of the temples were also great indicators of the ideals of the society of the China of the past: peace, tranquility, balance, harmony, mental cultivation, stability, love.
There were amazing bronze sculptures outside each of the the temples, and there was a story behind each sculpture - everything there had a meaning. .
After this all too short visit, we took a taxi to the famous Beijing Silk Markets. This was a building full of tiny shops with cheap but good quality items, selling fake Burberry, Max Mara, Tommy Hilfiger.
Every one of the hundreds of lined up stores had a sales person at the front trying vigorously to get your attention.
I was looking for some light jumpers. The by first place I went into had two of the best saleswomen I have ever met. I walked into the shop, quickly looked around, and left the shop to the tune of "can I help you". After walking off a bit further the same lady called out "you can have everything for 100yuan" (10bucks) I turned around and went back in, with both of us laughing about my greed. "So, everything is 100?". "We'll, it depends what you pick", she said, laughing at her deception. She said something softly. I said "pardon" to which she replied " ahh, you are Australian. " "how did you know?" I said, impressed. "Australians say pardon." She said a sentence to her colleague in Chinese, in which I could make out the word "Australian". They both became jokey, friendly and charming instantly. I picked a jumper and she gave me a price. When I complained about the price (something I had been told to do by our Chinese host) one of them said instantly "that is only 45 Australian dollars! That is really not very much for you!" I tried to haggle, but could only knock down the price for two jumpers to about 32AUD (about twice the amount I should have paid), because they were so personable and I felt guilty.
After checking out of our hotel, saying our goodbyes to our amazing host, Tina, flying from Beijing airport to Shanghai, we are now having our final Chinese lunch before hopping on our 10 hour flight to Sydney!! Woohoo!!!
What an amazing adventure this has been!!!