Tag Archives: Thursday doors

Thursday Doors: Palace Museum in the Forbidden City

Earlier this summer I was gone for 3 weeks on a trip to Asia. Our itinerary was as follows: South Korea (Seoul), China (Beijing, Xi’an, Hong Kong, Shanghai), and finally Japan (Tokyo). I find travel blogging to be rather challenging without some guiding or organizing principle to follow, so I have been blogging about this trip and showing pictures from it in my weekly photo challenge blogs, Mundane Monday and Thursday Doors. Not everything is mundane and not everything is a door, but these two concepts are still covering a lot of ground.

The first morning of our guided tour in Beijing we spent in Tiananmen Square. Doors are not really what you go to see in Tiananmen Square, but the door to the Forbidden City is here under Chairman Mao’s portrait. This portrait hangs there all the time, and is replaced with an identical copy every 5 years. The Mausoleum that displays Mao’s embalmed body (elsewhere in the square) closed for renovations again in the summer of 2017, so we didn’t see the real thing.

01MaoPortrait

If you look closely at the doors you can see that they have rows of studs on them. Each door has exactly 81 studs, or 9X9. Nine is a special number in China. Our guide said that 10 is associated with perfection unattainable in this life, leaving the number 9 to be claimed by the Emperor as his own. The rest of us humans have to be content with 8, which is also a lucky number.

After entering through the studded door, you walk down a long hallway into the first courtyard of the Forbidden City, where you could buy your entrance tickets.

04Tickets

The next picture shows a courtyard further interior than the first view a tourist has upon entering the Palace, but I chose to show it because it illustrates how barren the area is. The sun beats down and people carry umbrellas to protect themselves from it, but there are no plants or other landscape features that might provide other types of relief.

CourtyardSunny

Doors with 81 studs were used in many parts of the palace:

05InteriorDoor

It was a real city of its time, with lots of buildings. You would move through one courtyard only to find another one behind it and pass one door only to find others.

And there was construction going in in several places within this bustling city, as you can see here:

06Construction

We went to the Imperial Garden last, which was my favorite part of the Forbidden City. It was built for the emperors and their wives to enjoy themselves. You finally see some greenery around these doors, in addition to the usual studs. Also, a number of pictures of bats, who were considered good luck.

08Courtyard09Trees10HiddenDoor13TheAuthor

My fitbit told me that this was another one of my 15K+ step days. I’m glad the sandals were comfortable!

This post is for Norm 2.0’s Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. I’ll be sharing more doors from my trip to East Asia for the next several Thursdays, as well as more everyday travel photos for the “Mundane Monday” challenge on Mondays.

 

 

 

 

Thursday Doors (on Friday): Beijing City Wall

After walking through the maze of Hutongs and around the train station with offset maps, we finally found the park we were looking for.

TopofWall
These are the first lion pair around a door that we saw and they aren’t playing with the traditional cup for the male and baby for the female. 

There were some doors here, (and I was on the lookout for them so I could post them on Thursday Doors) but there were also interesting walls and windows. This park included a section of the old city wall and you needed to pay admission and go up the stairs to get to the place the cache was hidden on top of the wall.

BlueSky

When we got to the top of the staircase, we had a great view of the city, and some of the train tracks. I’m including more sky in this picture than may be compositionally ideal because I wanted to show how blue it was that day. We’d heard horror stories about Beijing air quality, but our guide told us that the air has been much better this year than in previous years. If you can see blue sky the air is supposed to be ok, and we didn’t see anyone wearing face masks. The US Embassy website didn’t always agree with this assessment, but we didn’t have any problems in the few days we were there.

This section of the wall is well preserved (or restored) and there was a spoiler picture for the geocache location in the description, near a burned-out tree. This tree wasn’t hard to locate, and we soon had the cache in hand and signed the log. We were the first to find and sign.

There was another little building on top of the wall with red doors and lions on either side. We wouldn’t learn about the lions until the following day, but they were the first of many.

SunnyandHot

It was almost closing time for the park by the time we got up there and found the cache, and the shadows were lengthening. It was still very hot, though, even in the late afternoon. We took a different way back to our hotel, through main streets and greenery.

This post is for Norm 2.0’s Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. I’ll be sharing more doors from my recent trip to East Asia for the next several Thursdays, as well as more everyday travel photos for the “Mundane Monday” challenge on Mondays.

Want to join in on the fun and share your own Thursday Doors post with other door lovers? Click on the blue button below to add the link to your Thursday Doors post to our link-up list.

Don’t forget that if you share your blog posts on Twitter and Instagram, use the #ThursdayDoors hashtag to help others find you, and please do take a few minutes to visit some of the Thursday Door posts shared by others.

Thursday Doors: Downtown Seoul

Many buildings in Seoul are big, and serious. And the doors themselves are nothing special but there is a lot around them. An example of this is the War Memorial of Korea, commemorating the Korean War and those who died fighting it. A long stone staircase leads up to a wide mouth of windows.

Doorway to the War Memorial of Korea

In downtown Seoul there are other examples, including the Metropolitan Library

And the Seoul City Hall in Seoul Plaza.

Gyeongbokgung Palace, next to Gwanghwamun Square, is more urban than Changdeokgung, which I blogged about last week. It stands close to other places of business in the city. On our last day, we walked past the library and City Hall and across Gwanghwamun Square to get to this palace.

Gwanghwamun

Some doors of Gyeongbokgung:

Even in the middle of the city, there was a part of the palace that was an oasis from the rest.

Panorama.jpg

This post is for Norm 2.0’s Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. I’ll be sharing doors from my recent trip to East Asia for the next several Thursdays. 

 

Thursday Doors: Seoul Walk

I am a few days into a trip to Asia. We started out in Seoul, Korea and will be traveling on to Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, X’ian, and Tokyo. I have wifi in at least some of the hotels, but my posting frequency will be spotty for the next 3 weeks.  Continue reading Thursday Doors: Seoul Walk

Thursday Doors: Self-Driving Car

More geeky doors for Thursday Doors!

The Computer History Museum near the Googleplex is a good place to take guests who are visiting for graduation (or anything else). I’m not a computer scientist myself, but I’m the wife of one and my dad, a chemist, has always been an early adopter of computer technology. I think we had one of the earliest IBM PC’s in our home back in 1981.

The museum is comprehensive, from Ada Lovelace to Steve Jobs. And I just felt like including this picture of one of the first computer video games, Spacewar,  because it’s cool. Spacewar was developed in 1962 and runs on a machine called a PDP-1.

Spacewar being played on a restored PDP-1 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View
Spacewar being played on a restored PDP-1 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View

But, let’s leave the desktop computers for a minute, and move on to computers that move! When we moved to Mountain View, it didn’t take long for us to see self-driving cars motoring around the neighborhood. They always have someone in them, though, who kind of looks like he or she is driving, so it’s not as odd of a sight as it might be.

The museum has one of these cars for visitors to sit in, both doors permanently wide open.

Side Door to Waymo Car

In my in-progress SF novel, set in the year 2074, I write about a patchwork self-driving car usage. Some cities and regions have only self-driving cars. Some are reliant on public transit like subways and trams, and have walkable and bikeable downtown areas. And in that world, for cultures who do use cars, I envision an autopilot option that comes with every vehicle, but that its use is voluntary. Some characters in particular don’t like to use that option, and their attitudes towards transportation serve to reveal more about their character.

Myself, I’m a fan of self-driving cars, at least as long as they’re electric and can be built to run on sustainable technologies. I believe they have the potential to increase safety and decrease traffic congestion. And I’ve never been so enamored of driving that not being at the wheel myself seems disappointing. Actually I quite like the idea of still being able to get around independently when I’m, say, 95, and my vision and reflexes aren’t what they used to be.

The author in the back seat of a Waymo car
Take me home, Jeeves!

Thursday Doors: Stanford Medical Center

The last time I lived in the SF Bay area, I was a PhD student at Stanford University. I graduated from the Neurosciences Program, an interdisciplinary program for studying the brain that includes faculty from both the School of Humanities and Sciences and the School of Medicine. Even back then, in the early 1990s, brain science seemed to me to be the field of the future, an exciting time full of promise to understand both the world and ourselves. I thought, rightly, that you could spend an entire career, an entire lifetime, studying the brain, and never get bored or tired of it. The tagline for this blog, The Brain–Is Wider Than The Sky, is taken from Emily Dickinson’s poem with that first line.  Continue reading Thursday Doors: Stanford Medical Center

Thursday Doors: HP Garage

I play chamber music with a couple of different groups. One of them, whom I met through my daughter’s viola teacher last year, meets in one or the other of two nice historic houses in Palo Alto (either the violist’s or the cellist’s place). Google Maps informed me that this area of Palo Alto is also known as “Professorville,” and indeed both of them and/or their spouses have some connection to Stanford.  Continue reading Thursday Doors: HP Garage