17th October 2010
A more leisurely start this morning. Breakfast was disastrous but that was fine 'cos most of it was going down the toilet immediately anyway! After lots of sleep and no intake - either liquid or solid - Donnie was feeling very much better. I really should have taken immodium sooner!
We didn't set off until 10.45. John and I have been to lots of famous sights etc but I don't think I have ever experienced crowds like this. Masses of groups of tours all led by their flag waving guide, many of whom were telling their story by megaphone.
The Forbidden City is vast but so much of it was the same. You didn't really get a chance to appreciate it because of the crowds. After a while we all felt Forbidden Out. We headed through to Tianammen Square. We saw lots of security guards and had to put our bags through screening to get out of the underpass to the square. Police were very much in evidence. It was quite thought provoking to stand in the Square and think of the atrocity that took place there.
It seemed to us that a determined effort had been made to engender a happy atmosphere with piped music and rolling pictures on 2 large screens.
We took the metro to the Olympic Sports Centre. It was a long way with several changes - all for 20p. At the entrance to the subway there were folk touting tourist tat. One guy had a fabulous long kite with ribbons etc. We decided to buy one but what we haggled for was half the size and half the length with no ribbon and no string! Another laugh!
An early return to the hotel allowed time for a supermarket shop (can't think what for} and for Cath and I to have a Chinese massage. John and I had had a Chinese massage before so I knew what to expect. I think Cath was a little surprised. It hurt like the devil but felt really good afterwards. John is going for one early tomorrow. The jury is still out as far as Donnie is concerned.
We've just had a lovely dinner in the hotel restaurant.
We are now checking out our supermarket purchases in our room while I blog this before bed.