We left the hotel at 8.30 this morning and didn't return until after 9.30 pm. Another full day. There is a lot to see and do here so we are always on the go.
In a nut shell - there was ice cream at breakfast this morning, I love the bathroom in our hotel, Beijing has good food, it's getting busier the closer we get the May 1 (a national holiday), willow trees add mystique to scenery, some tree is producing a lot of fluff, watch out for the dragon lady, warm beer is also good for panda eyes, I like gold pearls, women from southern China are like jade and the northern women are like pearls, ziggy-zaggy chanting at dinner followed by a rousing round of O Canada is good fun and Kung fu monks are entertaining.
Let me expand. This Marriott Hotel is awesome. The breakfast buffet has great variety. The bathroom has a wall of windows so lots of light and it's spa-like.
Our first stop this morning was the Summer Palace. The palace has a large clear lake (that produces pearls) and stunning views. We learned a lot about the Dragon Lady today (of the last Qing Dynasty). She liked power and to spend money. And she wasn't very nice.
Next stop, the pearl factory. I didn't know that gold pearls existed. They do. And they're expensive.
We spent most of the afternoon walking around Tian An Men Square and the Fordidden City (the massive compound of the emperor). The emperor had 3,000 concubines and 10,000 servants so it had to be big! The courtyards and buildings go on forever. It was warm today and we saw a bit of blue sky. I must watch The Last Emperor when I get home. We saw the building it was shot in. The history is fascinating. The last emperor (who was very young) was allowed to live in the forbidden city for a while after the revolution but he had to leave the palace in 1920's so the government could change it to a museum. He spent time in jail in Russia and China. The last time he went to the palace in 1964, he had to buy a ticket to enter.
At dinner there were a couple of tables of French students. For some reason they did a chant when their food came. That prompted Aunty Mary Lou to get her table to chant. And the fun began. Our whole section of the restaurant was doing the wave and we ended with O Canada.
This evening we went to a really interesting performance, the Legends of Kung Fu. It was a combination of martial arts, dance and acrobatics. It was high energy and great to watch.
I've got a bit of a head cold and the NyQuil is kicking in.