Was that a life-sized statue of President George Washington in a toga? The white, purple edged, flowing robe would have been the apparel of choice in the Roman senate or on the steps of the Roman forum in the days of Julius Caesar about two thousand years ago. But here in the United States of America it seemed a little incongruous! This piqued my curiosity. I entered the Portrait Gallery adjacent to Independence Hall, Philadelphia.
After our tour of the room where the Declaration of Independence was signed, we crossed over to the courthouse directly opposite. This once served as the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. The setting was like any present day courtroom with one notable exception, the iron cage. What was that? What was it used for? I was curious to find out.
We have all been cooped up over a year with COVID-19. No travel, no flights to exotic destinations; mountains, beaches, forests or deserts. Staycation is fine but it has its limits. Now spring is here; the sun is brighter, air warmer and grass greener. I started feeling the itch of the travel bug. If I cannot travel far, how about somewhere close. Was there a place I had always dreamed of visiting but had never managed to? Yes. Independence Hall in Philadelphia. I will go see America’s birthplace. Time to turn pandemic related restrictions to our advantage!
The Great Wall of China, one of the wonders of the ancient world—so we had learnt from elementary school. And in a few hours, I would be on it! I mulled on this for a moment. The movie—The Great Wall, starring a buff Brad Pitt and the very attractive Tian Jing passed through my mind. The various sections of the wall had been built over a long period of time, in fact many centuries, to keep marauding hordes from the north ravaging the empire, with mixed success. In some countries walls are being contemplated, even today, to prevent being overrun by so called “hordes”. It seems history keeps repeating itself. Why don’t we ever learn from it?
After Tienanmen Square, we headed north towards the imposing Tienanmen Tower and the entrance to the Forbidden City under the large portrait of Chairman Mao. There were literally thousands of tourists like me with the same goal in mind. Naturally, there was a little jostling, not too much to make it uncomfortable, just enough to make you mind your manners and your pocketbook. I had been warned of pickpockets, present at all crowded tourist destinations across the world.