It is almost 8 a.m. I had a good night’s sleep and am about to prepare to go to the War Memorial of Korea. Obviously I need to play a little catch up, but for goodness sake, so much has already happened that I must keep you posted on it.

We bought tickets to enter the palace grounds. There was a large stone wall that was built many centuries ago, perhaps millennia, that wrapped around the area. A lot of old people scurried in front of us to make their way in. How wonderful. Still enjoying the tradition of visiting the Forbidden City and paying their respects.

We began to walk around, past beautiful trees and a good amount of people, but not a ton. There was a group to our left, after a few hundred feet, playing American music and dancing in a troupe. How tradition changes. But I suppose even ancient cultures must keep up with the times.

We kept walking and walking and passing more groups of very old people. They were not conducting forms of worship or practicing any type of imperial grounds what-not. It was calisthenics. Some were playing a form of hacky-sack (and crushing it, by the way—and they were really old) and others were doing long stretches to apparently prepare their bodies for the coming day. Some were doing some kind of ribbon play,and I thought, “Now that’s more like it.” (Reminded me of some churches I had been to.)

We were in Beihai Park, which is the northwest part of the Forbidden City, apparently where not much is forbidden. Sue and I kept walking around, checking our phones for the time, taking photos, and making jokes. She continued with phrases like, “You funny,” “You cute,” and “Cool, cool” (which came out “cur, cur”). Of course I’m funny and cute and cool (cur). I’m an American. Aren’t we all? She would testify to what I felt—no we are not. Not at all.

Through conversation, I asked her true name. It is Sang Lee. Ah yes. The culture rings true.

We marched up a large mountainous structure that led to some buildings and rooms. The outlook was very nice. We also knew this would be our stop because we needed to make our way back to the subway station so we wouldn’t be late getting to the airport. There was a large lake that played a natural barrier, but this quick visit to the Forbidden City was not what I anticipated. I really think I entered the wrong section. Better luck next time.

We marched back down the mountainous ridge and back to the path. A little over two hours before our flight boarded. Yeesh! We would be cutting it close.

Do I make it in time? Hmm. Good question. You will not believe what happened and what I had to do at the airport to even give us a prayer of making our flight. Good Lord! Me and my timing.