3 years ago
funkystar
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Tiananmen (天安门)(Beijing 10.12)
Tiananmen, which is translated to English as 'The Gate of Heavenly Peace' is probably one of China's most famous monuments. I first visited Tiananmen a few weeks after arriving in Beijing. It had been a spur of the moment thing, a kind of "Woah...I've been here three weeks and I still haven't been to Tiananmen!" so a friend and I hopped on the underground and off we went. While it's quite normal for them to scan your bags when entering the underground in Beijing, at the stations near Tiananmen they will scan your bags again before you leave and you'll also have to walk through a body scan and / or be patted down - they take security seriously. One thing that took me by surprise was the number of armed police walking around...and the number of plain clothes police. My Chinese friend would point to men and say "you can tell he's police - look at the way he's watching everyone". In the UK, it's only really tourists and school trips at tourist sites like Big Ben and Buckingham Palace but in China, I guess because China is so big(!), they are as many Chinese tourists as foreign tourists - if not more. I was highly entertained by the number of people who asked to take pictures with me (this is very normal in China) or who just stared at me - see the pictures! It tickles me somewhat to know that probably 50-odd people went home with pictures of Tiananmen and a random foreigner (me!) - I wonder what they tell their friends?
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