In the Spring of 1991, my childhood friend, Cheryl met me in Hong Kong, where she spent the last of my three week business trip with me, and from there, we began our China adventure to the cities of Shanghai, Beijing and the ancient capital, Xian. I kept a very detailed journal from start to finish of my awesome journey, nearly twenty-five years ago, and decided this would make a great travel series for Travelin' Cousins. Over the course of the next two months, I will post chronological segments of my journal on my respective Throwback Thursdays. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed re-living my trip! - Elisa
P.S.: We do not wish to offend anyone, but political correctness was not our thing as early twenty-somethings, so be warned.
* The Ming Tombs and the Underground Palace
* The Shendao of The Ming Tombs
We were on time this morning! We went to breakfast at 8:30 and it was great. They had a wonderful selection of food. I was happy, I had my "Rice Bubbles" (how the Chinese refer to Rice Krispies) and waffles. Not to mention, some cheese, crackers and a piece of cinnamon bread. Cheryl had about the same. It's amazing we are both so skinny.
Considering that I am such a picky eater, I'm grateful for the big, buffet breakfasts to get my days started.
Basically, it's Cheryl and I and four "geezers." Our tour guide's name is Harry and we're just wild about him. Actually, his English is excellent and he knows a lot about his Godforsaken historic City.
They got on our nerves later because they rushed us when we wanted to shop.
The other couple sat in the front of the bus. The woman is very sweet, but the man is annoying. He looks like George Bush (Senior) so we just refer to him as George.
First of all, his voice is higher than mine and he knows everything. (He also cut Cheryl off several time in Ming's tomb). However, he redeemed himself later when he took our picture on the Great Wall.
We started the day by going to Mings Tomb. Actually, Ming wasn't a person, but the 13 emperors under the Ming Dynasty.
However, you are only able to see one of these - the tomb of Wan Li (1573-1620) since the others have not been excavated yet. These tombs were palatial mausoleums with underground vaults in the northwestern suburbs, which are located 38 miles from central Beijing.
The crypt of Emperor Wan Li is called Ding Ling and it required half a million workers and six years to construct. When Emperior Li was buried, with him was buried 26 trunks of funeral objects. Some were on display. These included jewels and mini statues of people and horses. Human sacrifices were outlawed by this time, so no live people were buried with him. Most of the funeral objects were taken by Cheng Kai Shek and moved to Taiwan.
After the tombs, we went on a walk through a path that actually led to more tombs, call the Shendao of the Ming Tombs. It was about a held hour walk. There were a great many statues lining either side of the path, with identical ones facing each other. It started with animals and then followed by soldiers as it got closer to the tombs.
All the way up ahead was a pagoda with a common statue inside of a turtle. It was funny because Cheryl and I wanted our picture taken in from tot the pagoda and in order to do this, web had to take the picture of many yards ahead to get the whole edifice in.
I actually bought some of these yellowed, bent, and faded poor excuse for postcards. Cheryl, on the other hand, a more savvy consumer, opted out of the purchase. This did not sit too well with this lady and so in order to get Cheryl's attention, she used a very unusual sales tactic.
She began to follow Cheryl and hitting her on the back of the shoulder to get her attention. Now, I must mention that Cheryl was in desperate need of some as she had a list of folks back home, to whom she wanted to write. (Remember, kids, this is pre-internet).
After being accosted for about five minutes and telling this woman to stop, Cheryl decided, out of sheer principle not to buy any from this apparently, unbalanced woman. She continued to follow us ingot eh entrance, until I finally turned to her and "NO" in a most emphatic way. I felt like I was yelling at my dog, Paco. It was truly hysterical!
See you in two weeks for Part 6: Beijing and The Great Wall of China!