Our final day in Beijing was punctuated by two stops. First we visited a large Traditional Chinese Medicine pharmacy. This was another of the “opportunities” to buy Chinese products but with an interesting sales angle. Each of us in the group met with a Chinese Medicine doctor (with a translator). The doctor checked our pulse on both wrists at the same time, asked our age, and looked at our tongue. From there a diagnosis was made. Both of us had imbalances in our liver and kidneys.
The doctor also told me that it appeared I would be menopausal soon. (Duh!) Following the diagnosis, a prescription was offered. While we are sure there is legitimacy in the approaches of Traditional Chinese Medicine, we were not persuaded to buy, though others in our group did.
Following our visit to the pharmacy we walked a few blocks to the Forbidden City. It’s China’s largest and best-preserved collection of ancient buildings and the largest palace complex in the world. It was off-limits for 500 years, serving as home and protection for Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties.
In the Forbidden City, the emperor reviewed his armies, passed judgment on prisoners, and oversaw the flogging of troublesome ministers. Ceremonial structures, elaborate gardens, and an opera house are hidden behind the palace walls. This is one of the top tourist attractions in Beijing and the crowds of Chinese tourists proved this to be true.
After exploring the Forbidden City we had lunch at a typical Chinese restaurant. We are now old pros at eating with our tour mates and passing the food and beer around using the spinning table. We are a group of 25 Americans from all across the US, so there is always someone to get to know.
After lunch we headed to the airport for an evening flight to Shanghai. It’s been really cold in Beijing, with highs in the 30s. We are looking forward to warmer temps further south. The two hour flight to Shanghai was on a big (3-3-3) plane and took two hours. Upon arrival, we drove another 90 minutes to the city of Suzhou, where we spent the night. As you can imagine, we were all exhausted and ready to hit the sack as soon as we got in. Another full and fun n day in China!