Beijing, the last leg

Beijing has been the final stop on our journey. In a few hours we’ll be flying out of China. It’s been an interesting few days here as the city has been hosting a major international meeting of the APEC group. On the down side we haven’t been able to get to some places in the city due to the security lockdowns, but on the plus side we have had 4 days of glorious blue skies and perfect autumn weather. This is thanks to the local government policy of closing nearby factories and running an odds and even system for cars in the city for the duration of the meeting.
Our tour started with the Temple of Heaven, originally an altar where the emperor prayed for good harvests.
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The next day we visited along with the rest of the city, or so it seemed, the Forbidden City. The central axis provides gate after impressive gate and hall after massive hall. All the layout is based on the principles of feng shui.
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The golden roof tiles are solely used for imperial buildings. These parts of the palace have been heavily restored, which is the approach preferred by the Chinese. However, I quite liked some smaller residential areas where some original furniture and objects could still be seen through the smudgy glass and the paintwork of the buildings at least appeared to be as it was when it was last painted.
We had the best weather for our trip to the Great Wall. We arrived early and while the hardy types climbed up to the watchtowers I was content to stay at the lower levels and draw.
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This is what you could see. A seething mass of people scrambling up the uneven steps. This section of the wall at Juyong is more dramatic than the section I had previously visited at Badaling. After restorative hot chocolate I had enough time to make a second drawing of a watchtower on the other side of the valley.
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While I visited other interesting parts of the city I will leave my sketch diary here. Once I get back home (and tackle the washing) I’ll scan my drawings and set up an album on Flickr. Until then, safe traveling!

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