Here is our Beijing guide and I getting into a politics
Entrance to the Forbidden City
Inside the Forbidden City
Male Chinese lion
Temple of Heaven
Wangfujing Street
Walking in Tiananman Square
A ride through Hutongs on a Rickshaw
Final Leg on Spirit Way nearing the Ming Tombs
We saw a Kung Fu Show with these monks, they can sure kick some butt. I wanted to be a Ninja when I was their age so I feel we were kinda connected in some ancient way
Maverick making more friends
Wangfujing Street at night
Go in to buy a camera chip and loose our kid
The easy way up to a high point on the wall
The place was packed
Marble Boat at Summer Palace
Long Corridor - 14,000 scenic paintings along this 2,388 foot walkway, the Summer Palace
Tower of the Fragrance of the Buddha, Summer Palace
We made Beijing easy by finding a local company on the internet and booking a basic 4 day package. For a reasonable price we had a guide and driver take us to all the sites. They offered standard itineraries but you could tailor it to whatever you wanted to see. Twice I detoured our tour guide as I took us to the highest spots in the Summer Palace (Longevity Hill ) and on the Great Wall (Jundu Mountain). He had been to both locations hundreds of times but had never been up to these spots.
Our guide really liked us because we were his age and much younger than his usual clients. We were also traveling with a one year old boy. Each day, about 100 people would pick up, kiss or photograph our son. He was a superstar creating crowds in the street when he would dance to the music coming out of shops. Here is a tally of the great sites we saw in Beijing.

Beijing

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As with most tour guides oversees, they can get a commission if they take you to a factory �to see how something is made� or �go shopping� as they often say as well. This is just a way to get you into a sales room where high pressure is put on you to buy stuff. In this case, it was a jade factory. I thought I had a pretty good understanding with our guide and I was shocked he even suggested it. We argued for some time about it and he admitted he really �for his jobs sake� needed to take us. I even offered to pay him the commission out of my own pocket if we didn�t go. He still persisted and to the jade factory we went. I still don�t understand why it was so important.
The Jade Factory Story
The Art Student Story
One night I left the hotel quickly running into a local who said he was a local college student working on his English. He asked if he could �practice with me�. Sure but I�ve got to find a supermarket I say. I try to explain to him it�s bigger than a local corner market, one with lots of food choices. He walks me down the street, into a shop and down some stairs. At the bottom was a large supermarket. What the heck! So he continues to help me shop, helping me find everything including reading labels to get me the right kind of milk. He then walks me back to my hotel where we depart. The next evening, I go out to grab some candy at the store and I run into him again. This time he says he�s an art student and wants to show me some of his work. Now I know there is some sort of gimmick going on but I feel obligated since he helped me so much. The �college� is nearby and he takes me in and up to his office. Turns out, it�s a classic sale pitch room filled with art work he claims is his. I patiently let him show me different drawings thinking what his effort was worth to me. I figure it was worth $10 bucks so when a nice painting came up that I thought would be a good memory for our house, I haggled him down to ten dollars. We were both happy and back to the hotel I went where my wife asked �What took so long�.
Temple of Heaven
It�s one of the world�s seven wonders (how many are there really?) and one of the world cultural heritage sites. We visited the Badaling section, probably the most famous section of the Great Wall because is so close to Beijing. This part of the Great Wall provided vital protection for Juyong Pass, a key pass getting to Beijing. The construction of the Badaling Section lasted about a hundred years starting in 1505. From the highpoint on Jundu Mountain, the Great Wall seems to wander along the mountains forever. We took the easy way up, by gondola�then an easy climb to the summit fighting the crowds. I hadn�t been that crowded on a summit since Diamond Head, on Oahu.

The Great Wall

The Ming Tombs site was chosen by the third Ming Dynasty emperor (year 1402) who moved the capital city of China from Nanjing to the present location of Beijing. He is credited with envisioning the layout of the ancient city of Beijing. After the construction of the Imperial Palace (the Forbidden City) in 1420, he designed this place to be buried. Thirteen Ming Dynasty Emperors were buried in the area now known as the Ming Tombs. The best way to enjoy this sight is walking part of Spirit Way, a 4.3 mile road leading to the complex. The front gate is a large, three-arched gateway, called the Great Red Gate. This is where guards were posted in old times protecting the sacred ground. Along Spirit Way are thirty-six stone animals guarding the road to the tombs.

Ming Tombs

This was once the summer resort for emperors. The place is now a public park and one of the best places to visit in Beijing. The grounds are full of ancient pavilions, temples, bridges, a pagoda on a hillside and a huge lake with a walkway circling it.

Summer Palace

The largest open-urban square in the world, surrounded by imposing official buildings, what could be cooler than that. O yes, the history, the adjacent Forbidden City and the hundreds of speakers on the lamp posts. This is where in 1949 Chairman Mao announced the establishment of the People's Republic of China. It was foggy and lightly snowing when we arrived, making the whole experience of the square and Forbidden City quite intimate. I believe our guide told me not to take pictures in certain directions.

Tiananmen Square

Built in the 15th century as the residence of the ancient emperors, with more than 9,000 rooms spread over 250 acres, this palace was massive. After 10 minutes, I was totally turned around as the place is a maze of halls, temples and houses. It really was a city inside a city for the Chinese Emperors.

Forbidden City

Wangfujing is a long street full of major shopping malls, department stores, souvenir stores, and venders. It�s central location and pedestrian only areas have made it the heart of the city. At night, Wangfujing Street is full of neon advertising signs, outdoor TV screens and other flashy stuff. This draws the crowds creating a great atmosphere. This is where my son would dance attracting big groups of people to cheer him on.

Wangfujing

The Temple of Heaven is a large park and temple complex. The main attraction is a large tower built entirely of wood and not using a single nail. The park is also full of really old trees, with over a thousand kinds as well. Some grow out of vertical rock walls. The park is also full of local residents practicing Tai Chi and Karate, playing card and board games, performing songs, playing musical instruments and other crazy stuff.

Temple of Heaven

Neighborhoods almost a thousand years old preserved to give visitors a glimpse at how Beijing was. The roads are narrow, some streets are all twisty, and the traditional homes are packed together connected by courtyards. If this wasn�t cool enough, you get to see it all while sitting in a rickshaw being pulled by a driver. This site was real as well, people are living and working here, the government just has strict rules about it�s development.

Hutongs

A ride through Hutongs on a Rickshaw
Spirit Way stone statues on final approach
Spirit Way stone statues on final approach
Inside the Forbidden City
Inside the Forbidden City
Inside the Forbidden City
The Great Wall of China
On the Great Wall
The young emperor
The Great Wall of China
Summer Palace
Beijing City Guide
Tiananman Square and the Forbidden City Walking in Tiananman Square Male Chinese lion Inside the Forbidden City Inside the Forbidden City Forbidden City Beijing Inside the Forbidden City Inside the Forbidden City Wangfujing Street Wangfujing Street at night Temple of Heaven Temple of Heaven Beijing Spirit Way Ming Tombs Spirit Way Ming Tombs Spirit Way Ming Tombs Everyone wants to hold him Friends in Beijing Beijing Kung Fu show The Summer Palace Beijing Ride on rickshaw through hutongs Hutongs on a rickshaw Tower of the Fragrance of the Buddha Marble Boat at Summer Palace Long corridor summer palace Tram up to Jundu Mountain Great Wall of China The Great Wall of China The Great Wall of China The Great Wall of China The young emperor
The Great Wall of China
on the Great Wall of China
Morning excercises china Spirit Way Trees in Rock
Spirit Way
Trees in the stonework
Morning excercises
Spirit Way
Wangfujing Street
More friends wanting a picture with him
Mountains Great Wall