Backstory: the photos from China were taken on a 21 day tour with Sinorama.
We started in Beijing and ended in Hong Kong. The tour included 5 internal flights, a trip on a high speed train, a 4-night, 3-day cruise on the Yangtze river, and buses to and from everywhere else. I was on ‘Bus 2’ with 21 others: we had a terrific tour guide for Beijing, another excellent one for the rest of the trip. and in every city or region outside Beijing a local guide joined us. There were two other buses traveling in parallel with us, one English and one French, and for the last week or so there was a second French bus.
The hotels were 5 star (except one), the food safe, the toilet stops well thought out by the tour (i.e. it could have been much worse) and most of the entrances to sites and transport were efficient. The trip was in some ways gruelling. There was little down time, except on the cruise, and we sometimes had early morning flights and late night hotel arrivals.
These photos include my bus colleagues so I have kept them separate from the rest.
The first two were taken as we left the Temple of Heaven parkland (with all those smart people exercising) and before we went inside the temple grounds (for which the tour paid.)
You can see the ticket price in neon on the right in the photo below. 20 Yuan. I’m not sure if that was what the Chinese paid (it may have been free for them) or whether it was the price for tourists. In any case, because the tour took care of all the entrance fees, I never paid attention to the cost.
In each of the next three pictures, we are inside the temple proper and our thoughtful guide, David, has made sure our meeting places, and stops to get more information are in the shade.
You can see, below, how hot and smoggy it was getting if you look through the door (with the nine rows of nine gold knobs.)
The guides carried small portable loudspeakers and mikes. Sometimes you couldn’t hear above the crowds and the dozens of other tour guides with their own loud loudspeakers.