It’s been a whole month since my trip to China ended. I haven’t stopped thinking about it. And I’m finally sharing a little more of it!
On our first full day in Beijing, we visited the Forbidden City — with cameras, of course. The sheer size and scope of this giant walled compound was amazing. So were the number of visitors inside. The most visited museum in the world, the Forbidden City is a restored relic of old China, but it almost felt like a day at Disney World at the same time, thanks to the excited crowds. It was staggering to think about all the lives that had unfolded inside these red walls and under these yellow tile roofs, and it was the first time I really witnessed deep patriotic and nationalist pride inside another country. In America, most of us visit Washington, D.C. at some point in our lives (or repeatedly, in our case, since we have family nearby) to see the White House, the Capitol, the monuments. In China, visiting the Forbidden City is pretty much civic duty.
And it is mesmerizing. I could only imagine what it would be like in the stillness of dawn, without the crowds, when you could almost hear the hushed footsteps of the royal families who called this place home.
Recently, someone asked me about my trip, “Was China colorful?” Overall, it wasn’t any more or less colorful than America — signs are colorful, just like here; some buildings are colorful, just like here. Much of it was finished in monotone neutral colors, just like here. But the Forbidden City was dazzlingly bright and richly decorated, with dragons affixed to each rooftop’s corners, intricately painted designs on exposed beams, and ornate carvings along the railings and walls. The Gate of Heavenly Peace — the entrance to the Forbidden Cities, and one of the most iconic places in the world.~ Laura