After finishing our walk through the forbidden city, we caught a cab and headed to the Temple of Heaven. This place was so enjoyable. Unlike the Forbidden City and the Lama Temple where there was virtually no vegetation, the temple of heaven was so strikingly different. It was green. There were trees everywhere. Also it was the only place where there were signs and descriptions that were actually meaningful. The temple of heaven was a place where the emperors made sacrifices of animals to the gods to pray for a bountiful harvest. So there were places to house animals, altars, and places where you would be able to talk to God.
Additionally, it was a large park and cultural gathering place. I wish I were a better street photographer to have been able to capture some of the craziness.
This was the main building in the complex. It was well maintained and really pretty. I liked the blue, which was so different compared to all the red and gold we saw at the Forbidden City.
This couple was so perfect in summarizing the fashion of the Chinese people -- I would call it thrift store randomness -- If you walked into a thrift store and randomly selected a shirt, pants, socks, shoes, and accessories. It was not just a few people who dressed like this. It was EVERYONE! I could have posted a thousand comical outfits. I wondered everyday what their thinking was when they got dressed.
I watched this old guy for a long time. There were easily 20-25 card games going on in the sentral corridor at the Temple of Heaven. These were serious card games. They would throw their cards and yell and it was interesting to watch. For the ife of me I could not figure out what kind of game they were playing. And that is saying something because I am quite a bit of a card player. I asked and one person told me it was probably chinese poker, but if it is then it doesn't look at thing like American poker or texas hold 'em. What I waited for was for him to win. I wanted a photo of this man smiling. He had so many wrinkles and such a character to his face. It took a while. He didn't appear to win very often.
Also in the corridor were lots of crocheting women selling their wares. They were really beautiful things and they were really fast crocheters!
I need to mention the groups. Everywhere you went there were groups of adults. Sometimes it was just a group of men, sometimes it was women. Occasionally it was mixed and almost always it was just adults. You did not see very many children anywhere. And the groups always had an identifying feature -- this group wore dalmation hats. Some had scarves, some had yellow hats. The group leaders used every type of makeshift stick to lead the group -- stickes with bandanas, umbrellas, whatever they happened to have.
Another game that was being played was a checkers type game that I had never seen before. They had large boards and large pieces so that a lot of people could watch what was going on.
I tried to take a few photos of all the bikes. They are all beat up, run down, and so varied in wheel size, handlebars, etc. . .
And last of all leaving the temple of heaven there was a kite seller selling this long string of mini-kites. It was pretty cool.