The Summer Palace, Tiananmen Square, and the Forbidden City on a hot day
By Giani and Piero Panariello ’19
Our first day in Beijing was a very busy one filled with various sight-seeing adventures. We first started by walking around the summer palace, seeing the influences of Qing dynasty imprinted in the artwork. Afterwards, we took a boat ride on the lake that is overlooked by birthday residence of Ci Xi, the Empress Dowager also known as Dragon Lady, which she used once a year on her birthday. After that we had lunch and boarded a bus to Tiananmen Square. By this time the heat was almost unbearable. The temperature was approaching 100F and Tiananmen square offered no relief in terms of shade. People huddled in the shadow of lamp posts to try to get away from the heat. However, everyone took the time to take in the moment when we reached the square. It was an odd feeling standing in a place that had so much history. There was a sense of solemnness and sadness in everybody’s mind as we all realized how not everybody has had the chance to visit such a historical site. On one side there was the congress meeting hall and on another, Chairman Mao’s mausoleum, and right next to it lay the Forbidden City. After walking around the square, we trekked through what seemed like an infinite number of courtyards and doorways that comprised the Forbidden City. The stunning amount of rooms shocked everybody. At the end of it all we were able to peek into the Dragon Lady’s quarters and take a glimpse into her lifestyle. All in all it was interesting day to get a glimpse of China’s power both historical and present.