In the spring of 2006, I traveled with my sister on a two week trip to China. For her, she was adopting her fourth child while I was along for moral support and a (relatively) cheap adventure in a country I had never been to. We started out the trip with a few days sightseeing in Beijing. We climbed the Great Wall, toured a silk factory and a cloisonné factory, did a little shopping and visited the Forbidden City and Tiananmen's Square. It was a whilrlwind few days, especially given the terrible jetlag, but I enjoyed it quite a lot. The best part wasn't in what we saw, but in who we met.
It's difficult to understand just how massive Tiananmen's Square really is without seeing it. Take Times Square and quintuple it; then you might be getting close to the size. It really is impressive, even though its a mostly flat, paved lot. Think of it as a parking lot at Disney, but without the cars.
As our guide toured us around the square, she suddenly stopped and wandered over to a Chinese woman in her 40s, who had her teenage daughter along with her. A short conversation occurred in Mandarin, followed by an amused look on our guide's face. She came over to us and said to me quietly, "that girl would like to have her picture taken with you. She thinks you look like a movie star."
Well, how could one not oblige such a request? Yes, I know, I was the only caucasian man near her age (I was still in my late 20s for a little longer) in that place, so she didn't have a lot to choose from. Still, I'll take a compliment like that any day.
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