Jing, as in Beijing, was our queen of the day. She with the green flag, a bull cap and a lapel mic around her china blush, makes the rules. Number one of which is “Follow Jing.” Our pack from the Central University of Finance and Economics, will have to abide by her rules so she can lead us in and out of the intricate Forbidden City in an apple-pie order. For at 74-hectare, with hundreds of buildings, ten thousand rooms and multitude of visitors roaming inside, it’s not very difficult to get lost in this vast complex.
As far as exploring this Imperial Palace (or just about every tourist destination in Beijing), she is the authority. Her green banner served as our aid to keep us together. She said if we get lost inside the Forbidden City, it will take us twenty-seven years before we can find our way out. We don’t want to keep her waiting at the rendezvous that long. However, as soon as we entered the palace’s thick walls, I noticed there were dozens more Jings and lots of green flags around.
Jing has a lot of interesting things to tell about every corner of the place but I wasn’t really paying much attention since I was too busy capturing every piece of this World Heritage Site. Although I took note of that one bizarre anecdote about Puyi, the Last Emperor of China and the ceremony of his ascension to the throne.
When the 3-year-old Puyi was to be crowned Emperor, he was so annoyed with all the ritual fuss that he cried non-stop. His father, nervous and sweating all over due to the commotions, went to comfort him saying “Don’t cry, it would soon be over. It would soon be finished!” Upon hearing these words, the civil and military officials confronted the father. Taking his remarks as a bad omen which could mean the reign of Qing Dynasty would be terminated pretty soon.
Hence, the short-lived, scandal-rocked reign of Puyi and the last of China’s emperors.
I took one last shot of our flock, the international cast from the Central University of Finance and Economics (the CUFE group) moments before we dissolve into the thick crowd and –before I broke away from the group. I have to unfollow Jing. I can’t keep up with her pace while at the same time snapping pictures.
The dwindling shade of the gargoyled Bronze Jars. Authorities recently issued a regulation aiming for the preservation and protection of this majestic place. Hundred thousand visitors daily can cause a lot of damage. For example..
Foot traffic has worn away the palace’s paving stones, and the amount of carbon dioxide exhaled by the massive numbers of tourists has corroded the buildings. Further still, some tourists carve into the walls and relics of the palace. -Global Times March 28, 2011
Hall of Mental Cultivation