The Forbidden City

The Forbidden City was located just east of Tiananmen Square. And believe it or not the square it can fit 1, 000, 000 people.  When we had first arrived at the Tiananmen Square we had seen the first gate to the the forbidden city which looked like everything else we would see in Beijing, but the paint looked cool and colorful.

It was a longer walk than I had anticipated because I had no idea what the other gates looked like. But I was told what the first visible one looked like (besides the one behind me) As we walked across the square I noticed that all these buildings were a symbol of power. I remembered that Beijing had been the capital of China, so i assumed that the president’s current palace was there. With our tour guide we had stopped AND TO THE RIGHT I SAW THE Beijing Museum.

And on the left there was a building that somewhat resembled the White House. Just after I noted the the two enormous buildings, our tour guide, Jessie, told us that the building on the left was the Chinese version of the white house. And did you know that the first foreign president/ruler/person in charge was Richard Nixon.

When we resting and socializing about the buildings we made a slow, but progressive walk to the second gate of the Forbidden city. We noticed that there was a painting of  man on the front gate. We were told by Jessie that his name was Chairman Mao, and he was the first non-dictator ruler who was fair. He made one of his first speeches on the top of the second gate.

Once we were “officially” inside the Forbidden City we first arrived in a patio. My little brothers started to get tired so I sat down and looked around, and I could not help but to notice all the people rubbing the golden knobs on the big red doors. Apparently JJ had noticed the same thing, and as usual took no hesitation to ask Jessie what they were doing. We found out they were rubbing the knobs for good luck… guess what… we started to do that too.

It was a long walk through the crowded gate number three. It should’ve taken shorter if it hadn’t been for all the people visiting pushing and shoving. Once we got outside the gate we regrouped and saw the most amount of gold in our lives. I was shocked by all of the symbolic power. Then we started going up the stairs to get atop of the marvelous bridge three. That is where I got the beautiful view of the gold.

When we got to the top there was an unexpected exhibit, of the silk-road. there was all sorts of stuff from the west. I guess it was for the chinese to see what things from the west looked like. Though I even hadn’t looked at any of this stuff. It still looked beautiful. Funny how most of this stuff is made of gold, or things painted gold.

When we were done with the Silk Road exhibit we went to our designated destination (which was the top of the third gate) we got a great view of gate 2, and other cool buildings.

When we all took our pictures we were satisfied with our photos we headed to the other set of stairs, but before we reached them we saw another unexpected exhibit. it was a jewelry exhibit, most of it was obviously not from China.

After we were done all the unexpected detours, we got to the main patio where we crossed over to the side corridor. it was a long walk and a painful one because my pupils kept dilating because of all the glints and glares from the reflective gold paint on the roofs and the uneven shade. I really enjoyed the little sacred animals and the small sculptures. I wish I could have bought one at any sort of store. Another thing I really am starting to like is the jade items. I really like the look of it, and the thing I really like is the combination of bright green jade and black obsidian.

Once we got past the gate I was disappointed because it looked like the exact same as the patio of the gate I had just been in… except for a few bridges in the middle, at first I was dumbfounded. Then I remembered that in ancient times people believed in all sorts absurd superstitions. I asked Jessie if we could walk over the bridge and she said yes. It turns out that the bridge was over water.

This was the view of the last gate from the bridge.

The best thing about the fourth gate patio was the fact it was the second to last before the actual palace. Again we decided to detour to the side corridors. We walked along the corridor again and then we took a left and went up the stairs. Along the stairs there were stone dragons that spat out water.

After the fifth gate we took another break and we were told how to tell how important the building is by how many little figures there are on the corners of the roof. The front and the back do not count. For example you can tell it is rated 5. The most I’ve seen is 10.

Now I get to talk about the two major buildings, The throne room, and the emperor’s room. Both rooms were pretty spacious and beautiful.

 Throne Room.

 Emperor’s Room.

The throne room was really nice, because the ruler could have anything he wanted, with no questions asked. Also back then gold was a symbol of power, and if you were not a high ranking official or the emperor and you were wearing gold you would be killed. Another amazing thing is that most of the room were made of wood.

The bedroom was really simple layout, but the sides of the wall and the wall designs were flawless and complex. Also tapestries looked really cool. I could say the exact things about the bedroom as the throne room, in fact I could switch out the furniture in both rooms without anyone noticing the difference. (besides the locations of the buildings).

I really enjoyed my time in Beijing, but I loved the Forbidden City and the Great Wall more than other experiences. I will include some excruciating detail about my favorite lunch there. Don’t read if you are faint hearted. We ordered in for dinner, and I had the same breakfast every morning

When we first arrived at the lunch place I knew it was a traditional chinese food place. From the first few minutes there we knew that Jessie was a regular there. The menu was partly in English, and of course all the food we ordered was drenched in soy sauce. All we could eat was fried rice and sugar snap peas. We all were still super hungry so Jessie asked about any meat without soy sauce, and then they just left… and minutes they returned with fried chicken. It looked normal for a few minutes. Then Jessie and Archer asked,”Do you want some chicken brain?” And I replied……… YES. I got a bit of the little front lobe. IT WAS AMAZING!!! With my primordial spirit awakening as I ask if I can eat the eye, and it was edible. With a flurry of  assorted bites and chomps, I leave no trace of of the socket just a gaping hole. I feel my mouth start to foam and i see the neck, weirdly solid and putrid in some places and in others beautifully crispy in others. Then we had to leave, so I said,”I need to eat some rice.” and that Rice was never seen again.

Now for the brief editorial: None of my primordial senses were awakened or any of my body parts foaming.

Thank you


  1. Gamma

    Grayson, what a fabulous post! I loved reading about your visit to the Forbidden City. You really did a great job describing city and your journey.

    Wow you are really getting good at taking pictures with your camera. I’m assuming you took all those pictures with you camera! The jewelry exhibit looks amazing, too bad you couldn’t bring some of that home!

    I really like jade too. When I was in China, I bought some jade jewelry for myself, your mom and Auntie T. I don’t think you have every seen it, but I gave G’da a jade chess set. We will have to get it out next time you come out here so you two can play.

    Say hi to Auntie T and everyone else.
    Miss you lots- kisses all around.

  2. Jim

    Your great-grandmother and I really enjoyed your travel log. Nice work. We look forward to the sequels. “Our man in Shanghai”.

  3. Nana

    Love all the pictures. You are really on an adventure and all of you are troopers! Looking at the picture of all of you makes me miss you all the more! Love you! Nana

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