Friday, January 11, 2008


Tiananmen Square is so enormous, you just can't imagine the scope of it. It is like twice the size at least of the Zócalo in Mexico City.

At the north end of the square is the entrance to the Forbidden City. With a portrait of Chairman Meow still presiding.

Remember The Last Emperor? It was shot here in the Forbidden City.
Before the trip I knew it was going to be very cold in Beijing, for the forecasts said a low in the teens. I packed accordingly, but I did not count on the Siberian winds. The Siberian winds were very bad in Beijing.

At the entrance of the Temple of Heaven, which is not in the Forbidden City, a man writes poems with a big brush and water. It is so cold, the letters become ice on the stone tiles.

The Temple of Heaven. Beijing. A park surrounds it, where Chinese people exercise in the freezing cold doing Tai Chi, singing Communist anthems, spinning Chinese yo-yos, playing a Chinese racquet sport that demands not force but elegance and grace. The Chinese notion of exercise is not devoid of beauty. And they've been doing it for thousands of years. It's hard, even with the quite greasy Chinese diet, to see fat people on the street. They say it's the green tea.

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