While we were on our summer road trip, we didn't get a chance to watch much TV so we missed the first few days of the Olympic Games. We did see some newspaper headlines and read a few interesting articles, mainly from the American perspective. It's disappointing that Canadian athletes have yet to win any medals but I think it's a reflection of our whole system with a lower population base, less money, and huge expectations on the shoulders of elite athletes. It looks like there are a few hopefuls that are now entering the medal rounds which is great.
But watching what's happening at the Games and seeing sights of Beijing has totally reminded me of our trip to that beautiful city in 2006. I thought this would be a good time to share a few pictures and memories with you.
Let's take a little look at Tiannamen Square today. It's a huge square that is known to most of us because in 1989 students protested here in an attempt to make inroads towards freedom of speech and economic reforms against the strong Communist dictatorship. The square is ringed by important buildings and is a busy place with tourists, most of them from China.
The Chinese flag flies high above the square and is taken down every night at 7 p.m..
The gate entrance to the Forbidden City, which is across the street. The square itself was once the outer courtyard to the emperor's palace but now it's an open public square. The gate was being worked on so you can see the green bamboo scaffolding in this picture.
The Great Hall of the People where the China National People's Congress, site of political and diplomatic activities. 10,000 people can be seated in the Great Auditorium.
Monument to the People's Heroes - a huge 40 meter high obelisk dedicated to the men and women who died in the struggles to make China an independent nation before the Communists came to power.
Statue in front of Mao's Mausoleum
Everywhere we went, Bob and Aime' were asked to pose for pictures with Chinese people. It got to be really funny and we teased them about all the people that would have pictures of these big North Americans and be sharing them with their families across China.
Vendors were selling (knockoff) Olympic ball hats 2 years ago already. I can only imagine all the souvenirs that are available there now.
And just some fun images taken at ground level in the square.
(Thanks to Wikipedia and beijingguide.com for help in remembering important facts!)
Maybe I'll take you on another tour of this beautiful city again soon.