Dokodemo Door!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Journey to Beijing, Day 3

We had a fairly simple plan for this day. It was not very demanding, fairly flexible and it was to be followed-up with an evening at the theater.

It was easy, really: ride on the subway to the Temple of Heaven, ride up to the shopping area at Wangfujing, and stroll-around leisurely until dinnertime. Alas, travel in China always involves a certain level of unpredictability. The restaurant doesn't have what you want on the menu. The electricity goes-off in your hotel, necessitating the use of candles. Your bus smacks into a pig.

Expect the unexpected, in short.

Anyway, the Temple of Heaven is a decent public park and contains the world's finest example of a Taoist religious structure:

The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests is, of course, the centerpiece. Its title makes any kind of explanation a little redundant.

Mari suggested that I start adding some commentary to the videos. Personally, I don't think the results are always so good.

Afterwards, we took the subway up to Wangfujing, for shopping. It's the pedestrian-only street where the big brand stores are clustered, including foreign department stores like Sogo, Lotte and so on.

After exiting the subway, Mari's dad announced that his wallet had gone missing. Obviously, it had to have been taken on the train. I felt pretty bad for him as he had the yen-equivalent of over $600 on him.

The only thing that could be done was to take him to the teeny police outpost in the Wangfujing subway station and file a report to present to travellers' insurance.

I translated. The policewoman, clearly edgy about handling a crime against a foreigner, was doing it absolutely by the book. Typing everything up in the report, being very damn careful not to have a single word out of place. It took an hour. So that's how the Chinese police act towards foreigners. If you're Chinese, might very well be up the creek.

This wasn't a particularly fun experience and I wasn't exactly in a picture-taking mood from that point forward; it's the kind of thing you'd really like to forget about.

Next up: The last day; Tian'anmen Square and the Palace Museum.


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