Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. - Cyril Connolly
Thursday, January 10, 2008
The China Chronicles - The End
All good things come to an end, so here are just a few shots of my last day in Beijing where I went to the famous Silk Market, the Pearl Market, and the Temple of Heaven.

First, the Silk Market. Larger than most department stores, and five stories tall, each floor is crammed to the fire marshal's limit with bolts of silk and warrens of stalls with clothing and tailors just waiting to sell you something. I will say, this was the one place during my entire trip where the vendors got downright aggressive. They shout "Hey Radie!, Hey Radie! - You Buy?", and they think nothing of grabbing your arm to keep you from walking past. I got a little uncomfortable at times, but the fabric is entrancing. My host had nine silk blouses hand tailored (three individual fittings), for about $400 US - THAT my friends is a bargain.


And it goes on and on and on...


From there it was on to the Temple of Heaven. The Temple of Heaven is a Taoist temple built at the same time as the Forbidden City in 1406 - 1420. Located southeast of the Forbidden City in a large park, it was used to celebrate the harvest, and the seasons of the year by the emperor and his court. Once again, the number nine comes into play a lot, in fact, there is a lot of numerology here, and the colors are also important, like the color dark blue representing Heaven.


Before you get to the Temple, you enter a lovely city park, which was just alive with local Chinese enjoying the nice fall weather. It had been very rainy earlier, but the late afternoon was very nice.

This woman was doing gymnastics with ribbons of silk and the woman behind her was doing some version of tai-chi.


There is a very long covered walkway to get to the Temple entrance, and it was just crowded with older folks playing cards, checkers, singing and playing instruments. You just show up and join in - it was wonderful to watch.

Local card sharks:

Poker Face:

Park Serenade:


At the temple, as there were everywhere in Beijing, a lot of Chinese tourists were exploring their own heritage. I saw this ethnic woman. I'm not sure which of the 56 ethnic minorities she represents. She may be Li, but she is certainly from the south somewhere:


Apparently, it is very auspicious to stand on the center of the "Earthly Mount" the main altar in the complex. This family was trying to cram everyone onto the center at once, and I motioned for the father to get in the photo so I could take it of everyone. Wrong. Once I did, I became the unofficial family photographer for the next 6 groups. I had cameras slung around my neck like Annie Liebovitz until I politely begged off.


So there you have it. I took over 900 photos on this trip. I've whittled that down to about half of that, and I obviously haven't posted any photos of myself or my friends posing in front of things or just goofing around, but I hope you get the picture (hah!).

Next up. An index of the China Chronicles
posted by Broadsheet @ 4:00 PM  
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