Thousands of oppressed peasants + 1 Royal family =
The Forbidden City

The Forbidden City is huge, yet kept in surprisingly good condition - considering the fate of many historic treasures during the Cultural Revolution. We only got to see a fraction of the entire palace. I'm sure it would take weeks to appreciate the whole thing.

Useless Trivia Alert: there are 9,999.5 rooms in the whole palace. Why? The Palace of Heaven is supposed to have 10,000 rooms and the emperor is supposed to be the Son of Heaven, and the Chinese have always been reeeal big on respect for one's elders SO... 9,999. And a half. What I want to know is: how do you build half a room?

Forbidden City: Richard in one of <i>many</i> imperial palace courtyards.

Forbidden City throne rooms: One of the emperor's chairs.

Trotting through throne room after courtyard after throne room, we noticed something peculiar (besides the fact that we weren't the only Chinese people around for a change): Everywhere we looked there would be yet another woman dressed in elaborate evening dress. I'm talking sequins, pearls, hats, heels, boas, the works -- something that can only be understood through the Guide To Dressing Like A Local.

Forbidden City highlights:

Forbidden City: Orange Feeties Clocks and orange feeties
The Wall of Nine Dragons Forbidden City: the Wall of Nine Dragons
Forbidden City: Some structural notes A Quick Tour of Structural Details

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The Wacky Seester