Bejiing is really dry, dust everywhere. Static charges when you touch a shop door keep you on your toes. We both have sore throats from the pollution which drinking water only temporarily helps. Perfect then for walking miles which we did today. First stop Tiananmen square which like the next stop the Forbidden Palace required a security scan to get in. The are so many people visiting because of the chinese new year, so how much attention gets paid to an xray screen is anyones guess.
The queues for the tomb were immense, not really our thing but clearly is the done thing. No tanks however but the Great Hall of the people was impressive if a little Russian brutal in design.
From there you go underground to cross the enormous 10 lane empty road between the square and the palace. Ahead the picture of Mao cant be missed as you edge into the concrete gardens before the Palace. Here soldiers clean their boots and one of the many public loos are available. Public Loos are everywhere in the city almost every street, and whilst they are clean they are pretty basic, a hole in the ground, no water. The one in the palace also seemed to have no rules about closing or locking doors. Some things you really dont want to see.
Onwards into the palace. What is impressive other than the buildings themselves is the size of the place. That and the numbers of people viewing. Trying to get a picture of the inside of one of the building was way too hectic. The gardens at the end are interesting, with trees and piles of rock.
From there we went and had lunch in the shopping district, at Ajisen Noodles. As good as the guidebook suggested. We miandered home via a cake shop to pick up a mini birthday cake for Paul. It was lovely.
Fireworks are still going off everywhere from breakfast to night. On our way back from dinner we caught a touching moment between grandfather and grandson lighting and holding fireworks on our street. They prefer the loud variety here and some of them make huge crackling sparks and go on for ages. Shadowly figures on the street are not there to mug you just to make you jump.