Sunday, August 20, 2006

Still Forbidden

Beijing's Forbidden City is still forbidden. Thanks in large part to the upcoming Summer Olympics in 2008, the major attractions are closed to the public. Everything that a tourist would possibly want to see there is shrouded by scaffolding--this includes the Palace Museum, which is quite possibly the most recognizable structure in all of Beijing.
It's not all bad news though. With the closing of the great spaces of tourism, the public is able to view other buildings within the walls of the Forbidden City that they would not otherwise wander upon. Of course, these buildings hold nothing of importance and have locked doors. They are also the structures that are in dire need of repair.
With the immense crowd of tourists wandering the grounds and the excessive heat of the Chinese summer, the Forbidden City became a waste of time and energy. Seeing as I don't plan to travel back to Beijing, as I feel it is the city with the rudest population in all of China, I was quite disappointed with the opening of my summer travel experience. As would later discover, the Forbidden City is not the only major tourist attraction that is being renovated--the Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven, Beihai, hutong neighborhoods, and other sites were inaccessible.
My advice: don't visit Beijing until after the 2008 Summer Games. Maybe by then China can take down the welcome sign that reads, "Under construction since the Ming Dynasty."

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