Day 113, You can’t fly a kite in Tiannamen Square!

We had to see Tiannamen Square and the Forbidden City as they are both must do attractions in Beijing.  Our day started with a lovely breakfast in the hostel courtyard and then we were off again to the train station.     

  We got off at the station at the southern end of Tiannamen Square.  It was late morning by the time we arrived and very hot so we didn’t stand around too long because really it is a big concrete square!    

  We did however take the time to pull out our $2 kite and start to fly it.  LP states that you have to dodge the hawkers and kite flyers in the square so we thought heck, we can fly a kite too.  Well … you can’t!  As Steve is busily keeping the kite in the air, for the total of 2 minutes it was in the air, he failed to see the policeman coming up behind him!   

  Steve busily flying our kite with the approaching policeman!   

Because we were obviously dumb tourists and we had two children with us, the policeman didn’t fine us or drag us down to a Beijing Police Station for interrogation; which may well happen to others who dared to fly a kite in Tiannamen Square! Phew!  Let our mistake be a lesson to you all, don’t fly a kite in Tiannamen Square!   

After our little brush with the law, we thought it best to get out of the square so we headed across the road to find the Forbidden City. What we found first was the Beijing Working People’s Cultural Palace; which was actually a bonus of a find because it was quiet and had a beautiful grove of cyprus trees that we were shaded by whilst we ate our picnic lunch. So after our break we still had to get to the Forbidden City and it was still hot.  We followed the large tourist crowd and found the ticket booth. I found a little Chinese flag on the ground and gave it to Patrick, who fell it love with it.  Patrick became our ‘tour guide’ and lead us into the Forbidden Palace.    

  Yep, it was pretty impressive but given the size of the place and the heat of the day we kept to the shade along one side of the city and walked into a few of the museum rooms; we didn’t think we needed to see anymore. They say it can take days to see the palace and all its wonders.  Days we didn’t have and children we had!   


We had checked the map and knew that we could walk to the main shopping street, Wanfuijing Daije, without too much effort. The boys were revived with an icecream outside the Forbidden Palace so we set off on foot. We made it there, along with many other tourists that were delivered by tour bus. The best thing in the street mall was the Foreign Language Bookstore.  Harris was able to finish the ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ book that he has been reading since Malaysia at every English bookstore that we have gone into and Patrick read a few beginner reading books to us!  Since we were out late we decided that we would return to Tiannamen Square and line up to see the lowering of the flag ceremony that happens every night at sunset. 

 Just as well we arrived about 5.30 pm and got a front row seat for children and standing room for Steve and I .  We didn’t know what time sunset was so we stood and waited and waited and waited.  The crowd was building up around us and in China, a country of 1.3 billion people, you really need to mark your territory!  There were many people that would have loved our position so we had to continually ensure we weren’t budged and squashed up.  We watched the process the Chinese guards went through to guard around the perimeter of the flag and make sure that no one crossed over the barrier, including naughty children! By the time the sun set, after 7 pm, the crowd was 8 people deep! 

We watched the whole lower the flag; fold the flag; walk off to Mao’s house with the flag and then the guards shoo everyone away.  Now we were truly hungry because it was nearly 8 pm. We’d had a small snack earlier but needed food. We headed back to Wanfuijing Daije for dinner and then home to the hostel.  It was a late night. Our heads didn’t hit the pillow until 10.30pm and we were all exhausted.  






1 Comment »

  • Win Bartholomai June 7, 2011

    What an experience. Who would have thought that flying a kite was a crime! Glad you were spared the heavy hand of the law! Patrick looks so cute as a tour guide – great photo. Keep well and on the right side of the law, Nanny and Grandad.

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