These first two days in Mt.Vernon, I’ve swam, walked the grounds, rested and re-oriented myself to life in a motor home. Today, we will Ferry to Orcas Island and explore. In the meantime, I’m enjoying my pictures from China that I rescued from my old Mac.
As we approach the Temple of Heaven, we see street scenes like this, mobs of bicycles. From our bus we notice tired commuters trying to catch up on their sleep. The Chinese people work very hard under difficult conditions.
Entrance to the grounds is through several gates; an openness the Chinese people treasure after the ring of three feudal system walls, the Mongolians erected, were torn down by Chairman Mau. He replaced them by three ring roads, in all the cities that had the walls.
The grounds surrounding the temple is a huge complex with squares, grassy park areas and woods. The first square we come to is filled with ballroom dancers. This is early morning, and nearly all Chinese exercise in the morning, together, in public areas like this. Our guide invites us to join the dancers if we like. One man asked me to dance and I did. Like us, a senior with gray hair, but strong and muscular. You rarely see a fat person in China.
At this square the people were clapping their hands and changing positions in a very rhythmic fast-paced way. We enjoyed several groups of typical tai chai movements. One group did tai chai while holding balls and paddles. Amazing. Here houses are small so big body movements are only possible in the parks. They don’t appear to have gyms as we know them.
And, finally, the temple itself. Everything here is so huge, it is difficult to get a picture up close, at least with my camera. This temple is a UNESCO (World Heritage) site. At one time, animal sacrifices were done here and the meat cooked and eaten in the “great” kitchen. The temple is the tallest round building in the world.
In the vast interior of the temple, your flash is almost useless. Instead, we were astounded at the beauty of the building; the priceless labors from ancient times that went into building and designing it. Some things are enjoyable but do not translate to a camera such as mine.
The outer facade of the temple. Not difficult to understand why it is a world-class heritage site. The Temple of Heaven was the province of the Emperor, his family, consorts and servants. The public did not worship here.