Rich was very disappointed to find out that the Starbucks which used to reside in the Forbidden City had been closed due to public protest. Unfortunately he was not able to get the "Forbidden Latte" that he so desired.
One of the highlights of the palace was the Marble Boat, mad from stone and wood painted to look like marble. The Empress Dowager Cixi had it renovated in the late 1800s after the initial boat was damaged in the second Opium War. The boat has a mixture of European and Asian decor, with its paddle wheels modeled after old paddle steamboats, and its dragon heads at either ends. The Marble Boat was not meant to sail but was used by the Dowager for entertaining purposes.
The sheer immenseness of the Great Wall has to be seen in person to be truly appreciated. When I first strode up a steep vertical incline of one section, I actually experienced a moment of vertigo and felt like I would topple over. The giant steps in some section also proved challenging. I'm glad I got to see it before more parts of it erode away.