Written by: Danny Gruner, Jennifer Cho and Tracey Turner (MBA Candidates)
On Tuesday May 3rd, we took an early morning bus to the Summer Palace, northwest of Beijing. Along the way, we saw the iconic Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium and the Water Cube. We also experienced chaotic Beijing traffic; it seemed to take at least 40 minutes to get anywhere.
Little did we know, once we arrived at the Summer Palace we would turn into the tourist attraction? The local tourists seemed to be fascinated with the diversity within our group, taking many photos without asking. This prompted an intense photo battle along the corridor of the Summer Palace.
After another 45+ min bus ride toward Tiananmen Square, we stopped at a Muslim-inspired Chinese restaurant for lunch. Upon arrival at the Square, our tour guide Lee waved us through the entrance, by-passing the security screening that all other tourists had to endure. The size of the Square was remarkable; we had to dodge the marching soldiers and parents holding their children over trash cans to relieve themselves as we made our way through the gate into the Forbidden City.
The Forbidden City (aka. the Never-Ending City) was massive; behind each doorway was another courtyard, just as impressive as the last. We learned about the history of the Emperors, Empresses, and concubines that resided within the walls of the forbidden city.
After two hours of walking through the grounds, we were ready to head to our next destination, the Pearl Market. Here, we were afforded the rare opportunity to see pearls of all shapes, sizes, and colours. Afterwards, some of us went off to see the Kung Fu theatre show, while others went to Pizza Hut.
Only those who went to Pizza Hut left satisfied.
We went to bed with tired legs from tromping through historical Beijing. All in all, it was a great day filled with site-seeing and shopping!