Tiananmen Square is the first sight we visited after arriving in China. It’s the World’s largest public square, and measures around 1,500,000 square feet. Tiananmen Square has no connection to ancient Chinese history, like most sites you visit in China, but is connected to some significant protests and events in modern Chinese history.
Kind of like Americans going to visit Washington D.C., many native Chinese people come to visit Tiananmen Square. For some of these people, it’s their first time going to a big city, and for many people there, we were the first foreigners they had ever seen (outside of tv). Only a few steps in to the square and a family rushed over to take pictures with Ellie and Grant. They were fascinated by their blonde hair and blue eyes. Ellie and Grant weren’t really sure how to respond as more people gathered around them, touching their cheeks and posing them for pictures. They kept looking over at Drew and I for reassurance that everything was ok. After about a dozen photos, we were able to walk a few more steps before the next crowd of people came, begging for photos of the kids. I asked Ellie if she was ok with people taking her pictures and touching her hair, and her response came as no surprise, she was definitely ok with it. She LOVED that they thought she was beautiful and was eating up all the attention. Grant on the other hand, was over the attention pretty soon, and stayed in Drew’s arms waving people on and telling them “No” when they asked for pictures.
After awhile, the first family that asked to take our photo, came back with little Chinese flags for the kids, as a thank you. The kids loved the flags and enjoyed marching around the square waving their Chinese flags.
It was a fun experience trying, for the first time, to communicate with the Chinese and enjoy a part of their history. Although, for a minute I thought we were going to get kicked out when Grant threw his Chinese flag on the ground, and ran past two police officers knocking down guard rails in attempt to dive in to the gardens. Luckily, the officers accepted his apology in exchange for a couple of hi-5’s!
We really enjoyed our first full day in China and are excited to keep exploring the sites!