Sunday, May 10, 2009
Amazing Race In China
By the time you read this, the 14th season of Amazing Race will be over, but in the penultimate episode, they visited Beijing where I had been two years ago. Part of the excitement of the show for me is when they visit places I recognize and this episode was full of those events.
The fake pitstop was at the Drum Tower, an ancient building not far from the hotel where we stayed. I was disappointed the show didn't make the contestants climb up the very narrow steps to the drum level with its view of the city.
From there they had to go to the North Gate of the Forbidden City which is the quieter less crowded entrance. It's actually a good way to get into the Forbidden City which is a massive complex of buildings and courtyards.
At the other end of the Forbidden City is Tienanmen Square with the famous picture of Mao overlooking this huge assembly area.
At the area on the other side of the square is a tourist district with restaurants and shows. The shows feature singers in traditional Chinese opera costumes just like the ones the Amazing Racers had to dress up in.
There is an area in downtown Beijing that specializes in the very exotic foods such as scorpions. I never found it, but just a few blocks from our hotel was an open air kiosk specializing in fried food on a stick. For about a buck a skewer, you could try all sorts of mystery meats.
The pit stop for the episode was the Birds Nest Stadium where the Olympics were held. It wasn't finished when we were there, but I was able to make this panoramic picture of the stadium.
The season finale took place in Maui. I'm going to have to add that to my wish list for places to add to my Amazing Vacations.