Our first Saturday in Beijing was warm with the most brilliant bright blue skies. Our NSLI-Y group headed to the famous Tiananmen Square ( 天安门广场 ) and toured the National Museum of China. The first thing I noticed upon entering the square was the sheer size of the square itself. It certainly wasn't hard to believe that it is one of the largest public squares in the world! The second thing I noticed was the number of people flooding the square. We had to be on constant alert to make sure our group was sticking together. This was also the first time that I got asked to take photos with Chinese tourists, but it certainly hasn't been the last!
The National Museum of China
After taking a second to look around and snap a few photos we headed to the National Museum of China. The museum had a wide range of exhibits mostly centering around Chinese history and art. I had two personal favorite exhibits. The first was a collection of many diplomatic gifts given to China from other counties. This included the porcelain swan statues that President Nixon personally picked out to give to Chairman Mao Zedong on his monumental trip to China. My second favorite exhibit was On Sharks and Humanity sponsored by the group WildAid. It featured a number of pieces by Chinese artists all promoting shark conservation, and in particular banning the sale of shark fin soup. You can see more about the exhibit here.
Art at National Museum
Once we finished up at the National Museum we headed to a nearby touristy street to do a little window-shopping and pick up some lunch.
Seeing Tiananmen Square with my own eyes after so many times in only photos and videos struck home to me that I'm really in Beijing. I can't wait to explore more Beijing landmarks in the future!
Abigail is currently spending a year abroad in Beijing, China with the NSLI-Y program. She is excited to share her experiences with family, friends, and others on this blog.