June 6. No car yet so we are doing the tourist thing and getting over jet-lag. Yesterday we went to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City-so named by the Chinese people when it was built by the third Ming Emperor, since common Chinese people were forbidden to go there.
It is a Chinese holiday and now both the Square and Forbidden City were packed with orderly crowds of Chinese and a minority of Oxidentals. But what impacted on me the most were the maimed and mutilated beggars outside the Forbidden City. A girl on a stretcher brought out by her family to collect alms, motionless and lying on her back. No feet and terrible sores on her carefully displayed skin. Leprosy? It has burned into my brain forever. I will never forget it. Maybe I should never forget it.