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  • Elena Stoeva

Beijing China, Day 23 - Forbidden City

I got up and made breakfast. Spilled most of my coffee on my brand new lap top and now I cannot type the number ‘one’ and an exclamation mark :((( I can copy & paste them from other places... but I am afraid more numbers are going down :(


I headed to the Forbidden 🚫 City. I was going back and forth on whether to visit this one, but Max said he will go and of course I didn’t want to miss out, even though we didn’t go together.

And maybe my ticket confirmation should have been a sign:



I found all my reasons not to go when I got there. It was way too crowded for a Wednesday.


There was no line, but lots of walking.


And I got discriminated by a lady giving out flyers. I held my hand out to get one and she turned to the other side. I thought she didn’t see me and went in front of her but she chased me away like a dirty chicken.


My first stop was to buy a hat 🧢 as the sun promised to be hot again. I stopped and watched first what locals were paying. I asked one of them and he showed me 3 fingers. When I picked the hat and asked how much the sales guy said 40. I said, but he paid 30?!

I got it for 30.

I felt well equipped to handle the afternoon.

The place was gigantic but it didn’t take me too long to walk around.


The massive buildings in the middle were the largest constructions I have ever seen in my life.


Inside the forbidden city:




Then there were about 6-7 'smaller' temples on the sides. I listened about the history of the people who lived in them, some was quite dramatic, and I made myself a note to read more.


Some kids hanging out in front of a Temple:


And with all the stone construction, there was one small green garden, not sure why they kept the city and greens strictly separated.

I was done ✅ for a couple hour and set on a bench to rest. A woman with a baby approached me and held a camera. I though she wanted me to take a picture of her. She wanted to take a picture with me! First time that happens, although Becca said it happened to her every day.


A little princess dancing:




My residency coordinator told me about an popular shopping area with Hutongs, within walking distance, he said. I walked for 2.5 miles to get there.

And I was back at my starting point where I entered the Forbidden City. North and you exit from the south. The entrance is right across from Tiananmen Square.




I was in a store and was on my way out, but a local guy just stood in front of the door. I was able to squeeze by, but then I realized why he was blocking my way! He held his phone and took a selfie with him and me walking by. I wasn’t happy. The woman earlier at least asked me if it was ok and this one besieged me and just did it.

I noticed a few more people doing it too!


I put my large hat on and tried to cover my face. Must be the street. In the neighborhood where I live no one acts like that!

I got some street food, that I always wanted to try and bought a few little things here and there. I can’t help it.



This area is also where some of the oldest Hutongs are located. I walked for half hour along the narrow streets. I even dared for the first time to use a public toilet without any dividers! There was an old lady doing her business in the furthest corner. I picked the middle. There were only 6 holes. We kept each other company.



On the way back, I called a Didi but the driver couldn’t get through as most streets around the Tiananmen Square are closed.


I came upon this beautiful garden at a random location, while walking to the bus.



I got on a double decker bus! Took pictures out of the bus, excited like a little kid 🧒


The one below I took from the bridge:


The trees along the way were shaped by the bus, so he can get through.

After getting off, I took a Didi home.

Dinner at my usual place Meizhu. They greet me and sit me right away when I walk in. I am more local than the locals :))

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Elena runs a small paint party business, offering Private Paint Parties for kids and adults. For more info visit Paint with ME Boston

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