Chinese word of the day: Yihe Yuan 颐和园. Yihe Yuan is the name of the Summer Palace, a popular Beijing tourist attraction. (There were about 40,000 people there the day we visited, according to a sign we saw. There is no shortage of people in China.) This is a beautiful, wooded area on a small lake where the imperial family would go to relax. In fact, many of the beautiful buildings and gardens were funded by an empress who diverted funding from the Chinese navy to beautify her summer resort. I visited there yesterday and liked it a lot! Pictures below:
The gentleman on the right is playing the arhu, a traditional instrument, while all the other old dudes sing along. We came upon them in a pavilion on Longevity Hill.
Another random instrument player, this time playing the flute in the woods off the path.
I liked this hazy view of the island.
There are dozens of classical buildings like this, serving purposes ranging from dressing rooms to temples to places to watch the moon.
The largest building was this Buddhist tower overlooking the lake.
Here is the view from the tower. There are many, many more buildings that aren't pictured here.
We took a boat out to the island and then walked back to the hill on this bridge. It is called "Seventeen Arch Bridge." The name comes from the fact that it has seventeen arches. (I learned this from my tour map.)
I will never cease to be amazed at the footwear deemed appropriate by Chinese tourists for a long day of hiking and walking.
Things are going well in Beijing. I ate hot pot last night with our two student guides from the Amazing Race. We haven't had a chance to meet very many Chinese students, so it was nice to see them again. Our Asian Culture and Communication class is over, and we start our teaching classes next week. I'll send you off with the "Three Ambiguities" of living in China, which we learned in our culture class.
1) Nothing is as it seems.
2) Plans can't keep up with changes.
3) If you're not confused, you're not paying attention.