OMGGGGGGGGGG. I swear that every holiday season gets more and more crazy as the years go on. It's been, like, three weeks since I last blogged! Sheesh!!!
Okay. Next stop - the Ming Tombs. Now, here's the deal - there were 16 emperors in the Ming dynasty, and 13 of the 16 emperors are buried at this site. The tombs are spread out over 15 square miles. This tomb we went to is the most popular, the tomb of Yongle, the 3rd Ming emperor.
This is the first gate you get to - the Gate of Eminent Favor:
This is the Hall of Eminent Favor:
We could not, for the life of us, find Sadie's jacket, and we knew she'd need one, so the night before, when Ben made his run to the silk market, he looked for children's jackets, but they didn't have them. This was the smallest sweatshirt he could find - a women's extra small. It was still huge:
There were these carvings all along all the tiers and stairways:
Inside the Hall of Eminent Favor (this was the first time that we could actually go INTO an enclosure. A miracle), there is a huge sculpture of Yongle:
So these columns are sooooo tall - 43 feet tall, to be exact:
I love this model of an ancient Chinese ship:
Some artifacts they had on display - hairpins:
This is the funniest thing about the whole Ming Tombs thing. I kept thinking we'd actually see the TOMBS. Being called the Ming Tombs and all. Nope. You see the entrance to the tombs, but only one of the tombs (an emperor named Ding Ling. I think that name is funny) has actually been excavated. What you get to see here at Chang Ling is a hill wherein Yongle is buried:
Micah, making like a local:
enter), there is a big building called the Spirit Tower. There's quite a view from the top of it:
As you can see, Dylan was still concerned about wasps:
A good shot of the Spirit Tower:
So Ben wanted to take a picture of the kids and I walking through the gate and yelling, "I'll be back!"
"Why didn't you walk through this gate with your husband???" he asked.
"Um, because he wanted to take a picture," I said.
"But now you won't be able to be together forever!!" he whispered, dead serious.
"Um, I think we will be okay," I said, smiling sweetly.
Charles told us a lot about Chinese superstitions when we were on the bus on the way to the tombs. It was fascinating. He talked about the animal years. Like, I was born in 1977, the year of the snake. That is supposed to mean that I am pliable, that I bend with each new situation, like a snake can bend its body easily.
Charles asked when Sadie was born. We said 2005. "That's the year of the rooster!" he said. "That means that she must love getting up really early. She is a morning person." Ben and I looked at each other and chuckled. "Uh, not really. She sleeps in and hates waking up." Charles seemed thoroughly confused that the Zodiac animal didn't really match her personality. He seriously treated it as undisputed truth.
Next year, 2012, is the year of the dragon. If you have a baby born in 2012, they will be very powerful, talented, and strong. (Ben likes to brag that he was born in a year of the dragon, which he was.) Charles told us that many, many couples actually timed their pregnancies so that their babies would be born next year. Can you imagine??
He told us more about some of the superstitions of the Chinese. For example, many buildings will not show an eighth floor. Ben and I actually noticed this. You'll be riding in the elevator, and you'll see all the buttons for all the floors - 1, 2, 3, and so on, but then there is no 8. It goes straight to 9. They still build an eighth floor, but because 8 is an unlucky number, they label it the 9th floor. Like I told you, I don't make this stuff up. I just tell you about it.
I love these waterspout thingeys:
A lot of these trees are hundreds of years old. Each one was labeled according to how old it was. I think this one is 200 years old: