Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Rode my too new two-lock bike to Wudaokou this evening, and took the light rail to the Xizhimen station. Then I caught the subway on the number two line (outside loop for Beijing Metro) and rode that to the exchange at Fuxingmen. A couple more stops, and I got off at Tiananmen West. I took the "B" exit out of the subway station, and headed east, just like the lady told me to. I walked past the Great Hall of the People toward the Square on the right. Just before Tiananmen Gate, I turned left and entered the Forbidden City. There are several gates into the city, which, by the way, is no longer forbidden. But it is not quite "open" either. That is, you can't just wander around. The Forbidden City is the equivalent of a national monument in China. Perhaps it would not be that impressive if you had no interest in history whatsoever. But if you have any historical interest, it is definitely a "must see." But tonight I was not interested in looking at the palace. I was going to the Forbidden City Music Hall. Judie had set aside a ticket for me. They were going fast.

The concert was a performance by the International Festival Chorus, and sponsored by the Royal Norwegian Embassy. The guest conductor, Anne Overby, is with the Bergen Opera. The choral group, made up of expats from around the world, proceeded through twenty-eight pieces, and when they came to the chorus that brought the king of England to his feet the first time it was performed in London, The whole crowd in Beijing stood too. It's ironic. Beijing, China is the best place in the world to see and hear Handel's Messiah.

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