China (Beijing): The Forbidden City (a Lesson in Personal Space) – by Barb

Today we decided to visit the Forbidden City. Thankfully we had already figured out the metro so we could save a little bit of walking by traveling a couple of subway stops and getting off right at the Forbidden City. When we came out of the metro, however, we were greeted with throngs of people who apparently were standing in line waiting to get in to the Forbidden City. I was a little annoyed that we hadn’t made it out of the apartment earlier to avoid the crowds but figured there was nothing we could do about it now. Of course, the temperature was already a nice balmy 37 degrees, with about 98% humidity so it was oh-so comfortable sandwiched between thousands of sweaty odoriferous people. I’m not sure how anyone thinks that it helps the line to move faster if they press themselves up against one another but that seems to be the norm. After 40 minutes squished in line, we finally went through a security scanner and came out into the open. We thought this was the entrance but it turned out we had to move into another line and go through another gate. Once ‘inside” we were told we needed to go to yet another line to get tickets. By this point Clay and the boys were looking a little wilted so I offered to stand in line to get the tickets while they waited under a tree. The line was, of course, out in the direct sun and moved at a snail’s pace. Again, people left next to no space between one another – making those of us who are used to a nice big circle of North American personal space, feel just a little uncomfortable. To add to the fun, the man behind me seemed to think it was a good time to “yell” at all of his buddies on his cellphone at top volume in Chinese. Then he would step up beside me in line, as though he might just be able to sneak past me at some point, if I didn’t seem to pay too close attention. Well, enough was enough, I gave him my “nasty” look and stepped out in front of him, and put my hands over my ears to show that I didn’t appreciate losing my hearing while waiting and burning to a nice crisp in the ticket line. I think he found this quite amusing and said something cheerfully to his wife and daughter. After 1 ½ hours we did finally manage to get tickets and enter the Forbidden City. Of course by this point we were very tired and hungry – I wonder how early we would have had to have been to be first in line?!DSCF8937

One thought on “China (Beijing): The Forbidden City (a Lesson in Personal Space) – by Barb

  1. Wonderful torture Barb! I’ve heard of water torture-now we have “line torture”. My guess is that you would have to be there well before sun rise to be at the head of the line.


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