Life in the ROK
West goes East: The lives and adventures of a Californian couple living in Seoul
Saturday, September 29, 2007
scammers. They drove us around for about 10 or 15 minutes in all different directions before they dropped us off on the backside of the duck restaurant. When we were driving around we kept thinking, how would we have ever found this place without these guys....Then when we arrived and they insisted we pay more than our dinner for four was about to cost we knew something was fishy.
Qing, they ruled from 1644 to 1911. After seeing the opulence of the palaces it is easy to understand why they lost power.
This building was built by one of the last rules in China, actually she was the mother of the last ruler, but she was the one who wielded all of the power. Her name was Empress Dowager Cixi and she oversaw the construction of this building to be used for her birthday parties.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
This photo shows the scale of the Forbidden Palace. It is enormous and it goes on and on like this with 800 buildings and 9,000 rooms in all. Even more amazing to think that the Chinese built this 400 years ago. The physical presence of gates like this one was like a giant struggling to stand and shrug off the earthly shackles from which it emerged. This is also analogous to China today. On Beijing's streets, there was a palpable sense of excitement and enthusiasm for the near-future, more acute now probably because of the Olympics to be held there next year. People are rushing all over the place enjoying new freedoms from recent economic enrichment. I hope China's rise remains peaceful.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Potala Palace, the winter home for the Dali Lama, before he was exiled to India in 1959.
beginning in the 7th century and finished in the 16th century or so. It is big, old, and beautiful and smells like yak butter, which is burnt in all of the temples, palaces, and monasteries. Buddhist pilgrims bring yak butter as a donation to be burned to keep the temples lit and smelling like yak.
These ladies dressed in traditional Tibetan clothing are related to our tour guides girlfriend. The family was visiting Lhasa on a pilgrimage to the temples.