Monday, July 12, 2010

Beijing, Part II

On Thursday, I woke up bright and early to visit one of the most popular sites in Beijing, the Summer Palace. This vast garden on the edge of the city was the retreat and relaxation spot for emperors.

It took us about 40 minutes to get there by subway. The Summer Palace area includes a lake, a mountain, forests, temples, a river, and more. It is a truly beautiful preservation of nature and history.

Unfortunately the weather was not as agreeable. It was extremely hot and the scorching noontime sun overhead was relentless. On the bright side, I brought along an umbrella to shield myself from the sun’s rays. This is a very popular custom in China.

In the afternoon I headed back to the city’s center to visit Tiananmen Square with Julius, another Yale classmate.

To our disappointment we learned that the National Chinese Museum, located on one side of the square, is undergoing renovation and therefore is not open to the public. We also wanted to visit Mao Zedong’s memorial that holds his preserved body. However, for some reason the memorial closes at noon every day.

But no worries! Wangfujing Street was just one subway stop over. This is a popular tourist destination. It is a pedestrian street filled with all kinds of shops as well as street vendors that offer some of Beijing’s traditional specialties. We found some scorpion and starfish kabobs! However, we stuck with the much more boring snack of yogurt.

As the daylight faded, we rode the subway to another part of Beijing to meet Wendy for dinner. We ate at a small, unassuming but good dim sum place. Soft serve ice cream from McDonalds for dessert!

At night I accomplished some more mundane tasks, including purchasing a power adapter for my laptop. Then I traveled back on the subway to get back to the hotel by around 11. It is surprising how many people are still on the subway that late at night.

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