February 1st, 2014 was our third day in Beijing. As much as we wanted to wake up early, our bodies were too tired from hiking the Great Wall the day before. We were originally planning on invading the Forbidden city on our third day, but shit happens. Haha~ We took the right subway, we stopped at the right station but we took a wrong turn that led us to a wonderfully tiring shopping detour. 

The city's first railway station!
We didn't know we were supposed to turn left and cross the street after getting off the subway. We turned right and went further since there are a lot of people heading that way too. We spotted a Starbucks after crossing the pedestrian lane.

Again, we didn't have breakfast when we left the hostel, so, my roommate and I immediately agreed to grab a bite and have coffee first. I swear, the whole time we were having breakfast I was thinking we were near the entrance of the Forbidden freaking city.

Actually, we are kinda near the Forbidden city. We were actually at Qianmen (formerly known as Zhengyangmen or Gate Tower) which is located at the south end of Tian'anmen square

Qianmen street is where you can get a taste of real traditional Chinese shopping experience. They renovated the place for a year to bring back that awesome ancient feeling. They restored the buildings to make them look like the ones they had back in the Ming and Qing dynasty. For more than 500 years, this street has been famous for its shoes, silk, tea, jewelry and other products. Some of the old shops are still there, but there are also a bunch of new ones like Samsung, Haagen-Dazs, ZARA and Sephora. All the entrances to the hutongs (narrow street or alley) are closed except for one, the Dashilan or Dazhalan which is known as "the essence of Beijing". This is where the fun begins!

anime store!!!
Biggest scissors I've ever seen!
Definitely not a little teapot!

Though we only had a glimpse of the other hutongs, we're more than satisfied with our shopping spree at Dashilan. I almost went crazy looking at all kinds of crap! From shoes, bags, clothes, furniture, hats, sunglasses, gloves, scarves, hair accessories and so much more! That time, I kinda wished I had more eyes, or probably more heads so I won't have to look like a retard trying to move it on a 360 degree motion. I had to squeeze my way out of certain parts, I usually hate bumping into other people, but that time, I was cool! It's probably because of the cool weather~ or the fact that I'm just way too ecstatic to buy everything.

I think we lost track of time while we were shopping. It was already late afternoon when we changed our direction. It was a bit late when we realized that the Forbidden City is actually at the other side.

That's the Archery tower behind me!

We still made our way there though. We took pictures at the historical Tian'anmen Square. This is the heart of the city and this place is known for the 1989 Democracy Movement and other protests.

Zhengyangmen (it means FRONT GATE)
Tian'anmen square is a huge space that increased its size after few reconstructions and is now actually a perfect rectangle. On its south, you could see Zhengyangmen or the front gate to the imperial city. There's also an Archery tower near the main gate which was formerly connected to it through side walls and side gates that forms a barbican. These days, the city's first railway station (Qian'men station) separates the Archery tower and Zhengyangmen (aka Qian'men).

Chairman Mao Zedong's mausoleum can also be found at the middle of Tian'anmen Square. It gets a lot of visitors everyday, most of whom are his supporters. It is located at the exact same place where the Gate of China used to stand. Chairman Mao is also known as the father of 'Modern China'. He drove out imperialism and tried to elevate the status of Chinese women, improve education and health care system and increase life expectancy. However, not everyone is a fan of him and he is rather considered as a dictator by some people. In so many ways, I think he's pretty much like our late President Marcos. Though he did a lot of good things for his country, people still found ways to turn things around. 

I have seen Pres. Marcos' remains, but I haven't seen Chairman Mao's.

The entrance to the Forbidden city!!!
Unfortunately, it was too late when we reached the entrance to the Forbidden city. Haha! The place was already closed, so, we had to turn our backs and get back there the next day.


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