Beijing, Our First Trip to China

This guard at Tienamen Square typifies a lot of what I saw in the people who live in Beijing, youth, confidence and pride of country china09_25

Celebs, Karen, Tim and Thedra and the South Gate of the Forbidden City. china09_01

If you were trying to attack the Forbidden City in the era before gunpower and canons, you would have a lot of fortified gates to go through! Gary, Karen and Thedra about to enter through the South Gate. china09_40

I always felt the Forbidden City lacked warmth, but now know that there are no trees inside the main gates for tactical reasons. This is the inner moat (if I recall correctly), looking North and East china09_26

Everyone at the start of our climb to the Great Wall china09_02

Note that the wallchina09_03

follows the slope down (lower right portion of photo) and continues along the ridge of the mountain (another watch tower can be seen on the mountain top (upper left portion of photo) china09_03

>Here you can see the wall along the slope that was to the lower right of the photo above. china09_06

Gary, Karen, me,Thedra and Tim by the lake at the Summer Palace. Thedra bought pearls that were cultivated in this fresh water lake. china09_05

This was taken in the Shrine near the tombs of the Ming Emperors. Those columns were hewn from single tree trunks. (1 more photos to be posted) china09_07

Another photo from the shrine near the tombs of the Ming Emperors. Here you can see the enormous ceiling tembers, and ornate painting between them. china09_35

Detail of one of the gateways leading to the Temple of Heaven. china09_08

Building in a city park near the Temple of Heaven . This park is popular with seniors, who recreate here. There is public dancing, group exercise, card playing and general fun. china09_09

In addition to singing, dancing and exercising; seniors come to the park simply to rela, often over poker games. china09_21

Scene near the Hutong section of Beijing. china09_22

These lakes in the city are clled "seas." This one is in the Hutong District. It's the old section of the city, but old like Georgetown in DC. You can see the trendy bars on either side, and chique crafts shops abound here as well. china09_16

At the home of an Artist couple in the Hutong district. This was awesome. china09_17

Our tour guide, Ying Li, was awesome. She taught us so much about the culture, without us ever realizing it. She kept us together and laughing as she taught us about Chinese history and her hometown, Beijing. china09_18

Scene in Hutong district china09_20

Thedra with our driver in the Hutong District.china09_19

The "Bird's Nest," a totally incredible structure, china09_04

TThe Water Cube, where aquatic events were hosted. The Chinese diving team is one of the best in the world as you probably know.china09_24

Karen cutting a critical deal, right? Somehow it looks like the seller already has her price! This photo is so funny, because Karen was so into bartering here at the Silk Market. (2 more photos to be posted) china09_14

Beijing generally impressed me as a modern, rationally evolved city, the introduction of "Western" influences notwithstanding. china09_10

China's future. School children boarding a bus after a day trip. china09_22

A street scene from a walk through the neighborhood on our last day. china09_15

I really love the city of Beijing and its people. We are so going back in 2010. Check out china09_383

I did get a few artsy-fartzy photos that I'll post here

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