Friday, September 17, 2010

Beijing, part 7: Rain Storm!

r57 - Ningshou Palace Flowers

r61 - Yǎngxìng Hall Ceiling

Our next stop in the Forbidden City was the theater.
r62 - Imperial Theater Stage
The stage is three levels (see above). Performers would be on all three levels, travelling between levels on stairs and wires.

The audience was situated in the buildings across the courtyard, with the emperor a floor up for optimum viewing. Only the emperor (and Emperor Dowager Cixi when she was in charge) could sit down. All others were forced to kneel for the duration of the performances. Some ministers didn't make it, apparently, and keeled over.

Real hats of the emperor, or so they say:
r65 - An Emperor's Many Hats

Nearby is a collection of precious jewels and carved jade.
r67 - Mountain Forest of Jade

r69 - Chunlin in Hall of Harmony
Impressively huge, in the Chinese imperial tradition.

They need to weed their roofs, however.
r71 - It's Time to Weed the Roof!
As I've mentioned before, maintenance in China is a bit hit-and-miss.

r75 - Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion
At the Imperial Garden, we discovered where all the tour groups had been hiding. Also, the skies began to rain. Notice the man in the above photo peering upward. I think he knows what's coming.


Everyone runs for the North Gate.
r77 - Shenwu Gate

Since we were just about finished with the Forbidden City, we followed the crowd.
r78 - Out the Gate to Jing Shan

Instead of hanging out in the gate's tunnel for the rest of the afternoon, we decided to head to the street and catch a bus. It wasn't raining too hard, after all.
r80 - Shenwu Gate in the Rain

By the time we reached the street, the rain became harder. We shared our umbrella and crowed partially under a bus shelter while the heavens opened up.
r81 - Ten Wet Minutes on Jingshan Qianjie
A few enclosed pedicabs stopped by, offering rides, but no one took them up on their offer.

After a long ten minutes, sudden sunshine.
r82 - Shenwu Gate after the Deluge

We caught a bus westward and that was that.

More photos on flickr.

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