Monday, April 27, 2015

CHINA Day 4: Summer Palace, the Zoo, and Kung Fu Show

For our second day in Beijing, Herbert suggested we go to The Summer Palace, one of his favorite places in the city. We took a boat down the river for about 30 minutes, which is how Empress Dowager Cixi used to get there. It was a pleasant little trip. (Except for the woman behind me on the boat who kept telling Herbert that I needed to hold Marie more tightly and that she was too cold and I should have her wear more clothes. So, sometimes it's better when you don't have a translator... I did ask Herbert about it later, though. I asked him why people were so concerned about my kids being cold. It was spring, not winter, so it must get a lot colder in Beijing than it was when we were there. His response was, "The Chinese are weaker than European people." I kid you not, he admitted to being weaker. It was priceless.)

Here is Bobby with a gargoyle of some kind on the 17-arch bridge. He's making a dragon face.
This is the Seventeen Arch Bridge. I mentioned that they had 9 animals on the roof in The Forbidden City, and apparently 9 was the symbol of the emperor or something (it comes up again at the Temple of Heaven later in our trip). So, this bridge has 17 arches so that when the emperor went through the middle one, he was going through the 9th arch counted from either side.

This is the Temple of Timely Rains and Extensive Moisture. Emperor Qianlong used to come to pray for rain here and it worked at least once, so they kept doing it.
Family picture. There were so many people, it was impossible not to have extra people in the picture. It's a busy place! Marie was sleeping.

This is the longest continuously covered walkway in the world. It was built because the Emperor enjoyed taking walks along the river, and this way, he could take walks even when it was raining.
The ceiling of one of the pavilions
Here's another shot of the Temple of Timely Rains and Extensive Moisture (or Guangrun Lingyu Ci)

Not sure what this is, but I thought the architecture was fun.

Matt decided to do a little photo shoot with some of these pretty trees before we left.
Poor Scotty. His lips and nose were so chapped. We all had a cold while we were there and to add in the pollution and the humidity being cut by about 70% from what we're used to just made it worse.

One of the bridges we walked over as we left. It really was a very beautiful place to visit. I can see why the emperor and empress enjoyed visiting. They had juniper trees planted all along the river which provided lots of shade.

I felt like the boys were getting antsy after a day and a half of sightseeing and recommended that they might enjoy the zoo. It was kind of a big mistake. It wasn't that great of a zoo and the boys weren't all that interested. We did rent strollers, so at least we didn't have to listen to Bobby crying, "I want you to carry me!" for an hour or two. And, we got to see a panda...
...and buy a panda hat
Scott's hair was very unkempt that day and I think the fox thought it was something to pounce on. He came right over when Scott sat down.

Pretty cool tiger statue. It's gigantic.
We sat and watched the kangaroos for quite a while. This little guy was hopping around the room, and it was fun to watch.

These bears were fighting almost the whole time we were there. There was a guy throwing food in over the wall. Doesn't matter that there was a sign posted to not feed the animals...
Marie had a fun little visit to the zoo!

After dinner, we went to the Kung Fu Show at the Red Theater. It was really fun. It follows the story of Chungyi, a child who is dropped off by his mother to become Kung Fu Master at a Buddhist monastery. You see all the things he learns and then he becomes the new abbot and trains people himself. Marie cried during the quietest moment of course, when Chungyi becomes a monk and gets his white robe, so I took her out for a bit and went in and out a few times and stood in the back, but it was still fun. The boys loved it. At the end, Matt had the boys take pictures with the cast.
Then we decided to get Marie in on the action. She could not take her eyes off that dragon!
I thought she might cry because she was so tired, and she was being held by a complete stranger, but no! Her good nature seems to know no bounds. I can't wait to put this picture in her First Year album. What a crazy life she's had already, and she's only 8 months old!

Sunday we took the day off from touring and spent some time with friends we met in married student housing at BYU in 2007 who now live in Beijing. It was the week after LDS General Conference, which is broadcast live while Asia is sleeping, so it's the week most people on this side of the world watch it. So, we watched one session with our friends. They have sons almost exactly the same ages as Scott and Bobby and then two more younger boys. We will have to watch the session again to get anything out of it, but they had fun listening for key words like, "family" and "temple" and then getting candy after hearing it 5 times. We had dinner and then took a taxi back to our hotel. It was fun to see our friends. I only wish we had taken pictures!

We went to bed very much looking forward to the next morning, when we would see the Great Wall of China...

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