I was suffering from jet lag and woke up at 3.00 a.m reading my book, waiting for the the day to be bright so that I can go out to take photos on the sunrise.
My husband was too knackered to go out with me. With the details given by the Receptionists the night before and I went on my own. Taking the bus number 116 from the bus stop to the Temple of Heaven. Asked for directions from the Driver, but can't understand his Mandarin. Lucky, an old lady told me she is going to the Temple of Heaven to practice her "zhi kong" some sort of exercise by controlling the inner energy of the body.
The bus stop was directly in front of the Temple of Heaven and it only cost me 0.40 rem. Temple of Heaven garden were previously used by the emperors whom came here to admire the moon and enjoyed himself in this beautiful garden. Now I know why the staff always advice me to take bus instead of tram, each bus trip cost only 0.40 rem and the each tram trip cost $2.00 rem regardless long of short distance. As I had bought the subway card which can also be used for trams and buses. It is cheaper to travel in this way as we pay the same as the local. The tram card need a $20.00 rem deposit which is not refundable and can top up any amount as we want.
Reached the Temple of Heaven at 6.30 a.m. and went to purchase the entrance fee which cost $15.00 rem. The lady told me, I don't have to pay till 8.00 a.m. but if I want to go into the temple then I need to pay to go in.
I am quite disappointed, I thought I will be an early bird to catch the worms. "No!" there were plenty of locals and 2 or 3 groups of locals tourists. There were lot of locals exercise in the garden. Some doing Tai Chee, dancings, zhi kong, card games and etc. Too much crowds especially their talking and music from the players it totally kill my mood of taking any photos.
Packed up and took a tram back to the hotel as I don't know which bus stop to alight. Reached the hotel 9.45 a.m. but my husband had went out for his breakfast. He was back about 10.30 a.m. and we went out together for our lunch. The lunch here cost us about £6.00 gbp. for both of us. After lunch we went to the Tian'anmen where the Forbidden Palace is there.
When I was there 23 years ago, the Forbidden Palace was closed due to the locals were having a protestation on hunger strikes. The ticket for the entrance fees was $60.00 rem which about £6.00 gbp per person. It was 12.00 p.m. noon, and the weather was at the hottest. Forbidden Palace was a palace where the emperor living and attended to all his business and entertainments at the palace. The emperor's wivies were also resided in here. This Palace was built in the Ming Dynasty in 1562 and also been used in Qing Dynasty in 1645.
The crowds at this tourists attractions were packed with thousands of locals and foreigners. I hated the heatwaves, the noises volumes made by the locals were so loud it basically hurt my ears. After walking for about 3 hours and finally I had to give up and can't walk anymore. We found a place where there is some wind blowing
slowly and fall asleep for 2 hours. Finally, the radio announced that this palace will be closed in half an hour time and all tourists have to try to take or see whatever they can in this half an hour.
At last, the palace almost empty and not packed with crowds. I really enjoyed myself during this half an hour of taking photos. Wow, peace at last, most of the tourists were either sitting outside the gates or hurried out. At last, I can take some nice pictures before pack up and go.
Trying to squeeze as much sight-seeings as possible in one day. We went to Bei Hai but one of the guard told us that we couldn't go there as the place is for the governments' uses only. Instead we went to Hou Hai. Took the tram but not direct to the lake so we had the same problems when asking for directions again. Been told to go straight on and you will reached there.
Finally, it took us about one and half hour to reach Hou Hai, nothing amazing in here but there is a competition on for fishing. Plenty of locals gathered at this lake trying to win this fishing competition. I am lucky it was dusk, so quite pleased with myself. After half an hour here we walked back to the same town again and had our dinner and and asked what bus to take to go to the Bird Nest Stadium.
Reached the Bird Nest Stadium at 9.30 p.m. and we are not allowed in or near to take photo. My husband need a public toilet urgently and had been looking for it about half an hour still can't find it. When he saw the security guards and ask them in his famous Cantonese Mandarin, non of the guards understand what he want. To solve his big problem, he had to express himself in baby language :~ "I need a piss!!!"
"OMG, what a night , and then they understand him. I had a great laugh at my old man.
Oh!, Oh!, it was 10.30 p.m. now and the last bus is at 11.00 p.m., we are in big trouble as we had no idea what bus will take us back to our hotel.
Asked for direction for sub station, but non of the locals know where and advise us to take a bus. Unfortunately, we alighted at the wrong bus stop and asked a lady riding bicycle for help. She told us that we can get our bus to the hotel are 3 bus stops away. she gave us the directions in detail, and shouted to us that our bus was here and hurry up to catch it.
Thank goodness, we managed to get our last bus back to the hotel.
What a happy ending for the day but our poor legs had been walking more than 60 km for the whole day. Tomorrow we still have a long walk to the Great Wall.
Photos : supply by Cat Tan
Places: Tian'anmen Square
Temple of Heaven
Bird Nest Stadium
Dated: on 3/5 2012