Oct 062017

To be content with what we possess

is the greatest and most secure of riches.  (Cicero 104-43 BCE)


To keep a lamp burning we have to keep

putting oil in it.  Mother Teresa (1910-1997)


In the depths of winter

I finally learned that within me

there lay an invincible summer.

Albert Camus (1913-1960)


Never be afraid to sit a while and think.

Lorraine Hansberry 1930-1965


Do not hurry!   Do not worry!  You are only here for a short while.

Take time to smell the flowers. Walter Hagen (1892-1969)



Better are loaves when the heart is joyous,

then riches in unhappiness.  (Amenemope c. 12 century BCE)


If you want to be happy….be.  (Tolstoy 1817-1875)


Happiness is when what you think,

What you say,

and What you do – are in harmony.   Gandhi 1869-1948)



We know the truth, not only for the REASON,

but by the HEART.  (PASCAL 1623-1662)


It is only with the heart that one can see rightly;

what is essential is invisible to the eye. (Antonie de Saint-Expéry) (1900-44)


The heart of the wise person lies quiet like still waters.

Oct 062017

Forbidden City – Beijing en Route to House Sitting – Australia

       There are many wonderful things about house and pet sitting and one of them is traveling en route to your assignments.  Trish and I had gathered Air Miles but not enough to take us from Toronto (Canada) to Perth, Australia to the Fall/Autumn 2017 assignments.  We were told we could get almost free travel for the two of us to Beijing.  We took the opportunity. There were many sites to see -included was the Forbidden City.

 It has 9,999 rooms filled with ancient artifacts.

Tian’anmen (‘Gate of Heavenly Peace’) is the gate entrance to the Forbidden City.

There is a lot of ground to cover once you enter the Forbidden City and each twist and turn has a new aspect of Chinese history and culture to offer.

Some Facts and Images. (Notice some in point form for quick reading).

F.C is ringed by a 52m (156 ft-wide moat)

China’s largest and best-preserved collection of ancient buildings, —world’s largest palace complex i

-Forbidden to foreigners for 500 years due to politics.

Pu Yi, was the last Emperor of China in 1949 He liked to tour the F.C on a bicycle.

-Reclusive home of two Imperial dynasties until Mao overthrew the last Quing Emperor.

Mao declaring the People’s Republic of China in 1949

-Unesco World Heritage Site (1987)

-Known  to most Chinese as the Palace Museum or Gù Gōng (故宫; Ancient Palace).

– Unpermitted entry in ancient times was instant execution.  This would not have happened as huge walls the F.C

Allow Enough Time: get audio.

Tourist accommodated with restaurants, a cafe, toilets and ATMs within palace grounds.

Only Entrance: South Gate 

Meridian or South Entrance

-Tourists must enter through the Meridian Gate, a massive U-shaped portal at the south end of the complex; an entry formerly reserved for the Emperor. (Past times – Military (West Gate) – Civilians (East Gate), Servants (North Gate).

Meridian South Gate: Emperor reviewed armies, passed judgments, oversaw flogging and announced New Year’s calendar.

Above Meridian Gate is a Gallery – cultural exhibtions.

What to See on Entering South Gate

Golden Stream images

Enter enormous courtyard, cross Golden Stream that is shaped like a Tartar bow and the stream is spanned by five marble bridges.



-Proceed to magnificent Gate of Supreme Harmony.

Gate of Supreme Harmony and large courtyard

This courtyard could hold an imperial audience of 100,000 people. For an idea of the size of the restoration challenge, note how the crumbling courtyard stones are stuffed with dry weeds, especially on the periphery.

First Side Galleries

Before the Gate of Supreme Harmony that leads to star attractions –  and go –

to Calligrpahy and Painting Gallery inside Hall of Martial Valor.




View Cereamics Gallery inside Hall of Literary Glory.

On to Three Great Halls in heart of Forbidden City.

-Halls on three-tier marble terrace. All halls used for storing gold, silver, silks, carpets and other treasures.

-Most imprtant is Hall of Supreme Harmony built in 15th century and restored in 17th century.

Hall of Supreme Harmony

—used for ceremonial occasions, such as the emperor’s birthday, the nomination of military leaders and coronations.

Dragon Throne

Above the Dragon Throne

—-See the rIchly decorated Dragon Throne (龙椅; Lóngyǐ), from which the emperor would preside over trembling officials.

Court Rituals:

-touch floor nine times with foreheads – known as kowtowing in Emperor’s presence.  See carved Xumishan (Buddhist paradise) at back of throne signifying Emperor’s supremacy.

Middle Hall of Harmony: Emperor made last minute preparations.

See Qing dynasty sedan chairs – Emperor carried around F.C. Last emperor, Puyl, used a bicycle.

The third of the Great Halls is the Hall of Preserving Harmony, used for banquets and later for imperial examinations. The hall has no support pillars.

Behind the Hall of Preserved Harmony, in the centre of the stairway, is a huge marble relief of nine dragons playing with pearls. It is the largest stone sculpture in the Forbidden City. Sculpted originally in the Ming dynasty, it was re-sculpted in the Qing dynasty. During these dynasties, anyone who was caught touching this holy stone would receive the death penalty! Weighing about 250 tons, the marble slab is 16.57 meters long, 3.07 meters wide and 1.7 meters thick. The huge stone was hauled into the palace all the way from Fangshan, up to 70 kilometers from Beijing. This difficult task took about a month employing twenty thousand men and thousands of mules and horses. It is said that a well was dug every 500 meters along the way and the well water was poured on the ground so as to form an icy road which could facilitate land boat transportation.

Hope you enjoyed the trip.  paula.