I got together with Ivy today and we made some travel plans. She's been away on business for a month. She works for a company that sells chemicals to pharmaceutical manufacturers all across the world. She gets to travel everywhere. She just got back from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Tibet. In the next year she will going to South America, Egypt, and Spain. Color me jealous.
We will be headed to Beijing together on Friday night March 31st after work and staying for three nights. This trip is checking off many items from my bucket list. Great Wall, Forbidden City, and The Summer Palace. We'll be taking a bullet train. I'm sure I'll be channeling Ricky Bobby along the way. I want to go fast.
I saw Bernardo Bertolucci's epic Oscar winning film The Last Emperor when I was just finishing high school. It's easily in my top five favorite movies of all time. The film tells the life story of PuYi, the last emperor of China. I've wanted to visit China ever since. The film had a dramatic impact on me and I've had China on my mind for over 30 years. The costumes. The palace. The people and their mannerisms. The beautiful Asian women. All of it.
There are so many lines and scenes from The Last Emperor that I can't get out of my mind. When PuYi asks his English tutor RJ if he's a "gentleman". Your majesty, I try to be a gentle man. The moment when PuYi tries to take back the thrown and sides with the Japanese, but realizes he's just a puppet. The end of the movie when he's an old man walking with his brother and sees the young communists marching his former jailer down the street. I know this man. He is a good man. I love this film. I'm so excited to finally make it there I was brought to tears just thinking about it. PuYi had royalty thrust upon him. It wasn't his choice to be thrown into tumultuous times as emperor as an infant. I can't help but feel for him. However, when push came to shove later in life he wanted his power back. To help others? For his own glory? How can we really know? If this subject interests you the book Twilight in the Forbidden City written by his tutor Reginald Jennings is a great read. It was used as the basis for most of the film.
I spent the entire day with Ivy. We made travel plans. We shared two of our favorite movies (She picked The Reader and I chose Last Emperor). We played cribbage. A good day.