By Claude Owen
As it was our first full day in China, and my first day touring, I wasn’t really sure what to expect today. Yet somehow, I was still surprised. We started off the day by going to the Palace and Altar of Heaven. In the park that surrounded the buildings were many elderly people socializing and working out. While seeing jacked old men that are normally in a nursing home was shocking, what came next was even more so.
As we continued through the compound, we ran into some parents almost auctioning off their children in some sort of real life match.com. By far the most bizarre thing I have seen so far, and maybe for the whole trip.
Next we explored the altar itself. The construction was a circle, with walls that echoed the emperors prayers, and stone laid out in sets of nine, the luckiest number in China. The marble had a slight blue tint to it, made to represent heaven. The roofs of the palace and its buildings were similar to the marble, being painted either blue, gold, or green, to represent heaven, the emperor, and the land respectively.
As the day winded down to a close, we met up with some of CCS’s Beijing residents, having them accompany us out to dinner. We got to try some really amazing food today, such as the dumplings at lunch, and the breakfast that Paul’s mother prepared, but dinner really took the cake. The fried pork ribs and Taiwanese sausage were among some of my personal favorites.
Overall, today was a total blast, and a great start to the trip. I can only hope the coming days will be as good.