Sunday, June 8, 2008

Another Big Day in Beijing

Woke up with a hangover this morning just in time to make it to the hotel's breakfast buffet. While I had considered sleeping in a little bit, my friends were up and getting ready to leave, so I tossed on the same clothes from yesterday and joined them. We took a short walk over to a nearby mall for breakfast and some window shopping. The mall looked a lot like malls in America except that the stores seemed to be grouped per floor based on store type (e.g. apparel, electronics, etc.) We had some food and then went to get a SIM card so that we could make phone calls without connecting through the US.

With breakfast, water, and a new Chinese telephone number I was quickly getting over my hangover and ready for another day in China. By chance the group that I was with (that I flew with) met up with the three guys we were out with the night before and we were all ready to do some more exploring. After some consideration we decided to head out to the Summer Palace. After a half-hour ride through town and a wonderful display of Beijing's expansive architecture we made it to the palace.

The Summer Palace has been the highlight of my trip so far. I hope you can see from the pictures how beautiful it is. Built on a hill overlooking a lake, the temple is actually made up of a variety of temples, halls, and walls. A person could spend days exploring the hidden paths and passageways through the forests and temples. With the hills and forests, someone in our group commented that it was Chinarado (a combination of China and Colorado).

After we had been up and down the hill, we went over to the art district called "987". In this once-industrial complex we found a variety of art galleries and cafes. The art was definitely different and I may have some strange dreams tonight, but it was mostly enjoyable. Our time was cut short though by the need to get back to the hotel and meet all of the other class students. Our opening dinner for the trip (with almost everyone from class there) was a full-course Chinese meal with Peking Duck and duck soup.A Quanjude chef slicing roasted Peking Duck.It was good to see everyone else from class and hear about all of their tales about their travel over to China. I'm not quite sure how I'll do with such a big group that needs to stay together and stick to a tight schedule. I guess we'll see. I'm writing this while sitting on my bed with a full belly of duck and I'm getting ready to call it quits and go to sleep. Tomorrow, the great wall.

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