Beijing Day 11 – Forbidden City, masks, tea, Peking duck, and opera

Today was one touristy thing after another. Our private (not actually that baller) tour bus came and picked us up this morning and we made our way to Forbidden City. I felt kind of rushed through this massive complex of pagodas, gates, and stairs. Everywhere you looked there was a tour group with a guide holding a colourful flag. We had an official camera crew from PKU follow us around all day, which was a little awkward. Robyn and Marah decided to do some yoga in front of the wall at Forbidden City. While I snapped some photos of them, so did a handful of other tourists staring at the novelty of foreigners doing weird poses.

After Forbidden City, we had some lunch and then went to Baigongfang, an arts centre, where we painted red and black opera masks. Apparently, my mask was just okay. It was actually kind of relaxing to zone out and paint between the lines.

We moved on to a tea house where we learned about different tea leaves and how to serve them. I ended up purchasing some delicious tea that isn’t really “tea” but just dried fruit that you add hot water to. With every purchase, you receive a pee pee boy, which is a little terracotta figurine of a little boy. It magically indicates whether the water you’re using to brew tea is hot enough. When it is hot enough, the little guy will pee!

From tea, we went to a Peking duck restaurant where we stuffed ourselves with all sorts of food. I love duck and the Peking way is a delicious way to serve it. Our group shared 9 ducks between us!

The last stop of the day was at the opera. I’ve had a few Chinese opera experiences in my life – my grandmother was a fan of watching them on video. I do not think my ears are capable of listening to such high-pitched singing. The range of singing these performers can accomplish is pretty amazing. This opera wasn’t so bad because it had an awesome 15 minute fight-dance scene that was supposed to be in the dark and the two performers just fight-danced around each other. It was great.

I am absolutely exhausted from a busy day of touring. Tomorrow, we are visiting a Hyundai factory and RYB, the largest early childhood education provider in China. Pretty excited. Over and out.


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