We're in Beijing today. I lost the internet in Ya'an where the pandas are so I will have to fill you in another day. It was quite an experience.
Today we went to the Forbidden City. Many years ago I had read Pearl Buck's books on China, including her Nobel Prize book, "The Good Earth." The Forbidden City that she had written about was as grand as I had imagined it from her descriptions. The huge courtyards where the concubines had gathered, the courtyard in front of the Emperor's Official Palace where people came with business The long buildings with the high pitched rooves painted in gold. The interiors are painted in magnificent bright colors with red columns.
I loved the story of the Dowager Empress. She and Wife #2 ruled the young emperor. They sat on a high throne behind him, a curtain separating them from the prince, but thin enough for him to hear them tell him what to do and say. We were able to peer into the throne rooms and see the two thrones, a larger one for two separated from one in front of it.
The Imperial gardens where the concubines walked were charming with huge stones piled to create fascinating sculptures.
I am closing now. We go to Chinese opera tonight and I need to memorized who the various characters are.