Temple of Heaven

We asked for lunch at a local restaurant today, particularly for a Beijing specialty. Between our guide and our driver they came up with a place serving Beijing noodles with black bean paste. We added spinach and peanuts – served cold and tart with vinegar and some kind of spice. Yummy and different.

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Across the street we entered the grand park for the Temple of Heaven, where the Emperor went to pray and make sacrifice, starting in the Ming era. This, too, carried an element of disappointment as much of the area around the large temple was off limits due to the active construction of a sound and light show associated with Beijing International Film Festival which starts on April 16. Huge screens, projectors, and more computer operated moving lights than you would see at a rock and roll show crowded the plaza around the temple building.

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The beautiful park surrounding is filled with carefully planted and preserved multi-century old cypress trees.

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The smaller round stone temple is constructed without mortar and is quite interesting.

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The whole place has a sense of peace and tranquility, even though much of the activity there involved the sacrifice of animals and there are huge cauldrons where their remains were burned.

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Great crowds of very pushy Chinese here. A month ago, this would have driven me crazy. Today, if they were younger than me, I pushed back, firmly. If they seemed older, I pushed back softer. I’m turning a little Chinese. Although I will be happy to be back in a more polite society next week.

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