Beijing: the Summer palace in Winter


17 December 2011

I left the hotel at 9 and walked to Dongzhimen subway, where I had arranged to meet Xu at 10. We had never met in person before, but she had seen my web page and had some idea who to look for. I was a bit concerned that we could wander around — the subway station itself is large and full of people — and miss each other. But I was in the right place for the rendezvous and she recognized me straightaway.

At the subway station is a shopping mall, where we went in to see if I could buy an ear band. When I arrived yesterday, the wind was pretty cold on my exposed ears. But there’s less wind today, and all we could find were cute earbands. I didn’t think I needed cute.

Back onto the subway, which we took to the Summer palace. People around, but not crowds. Very pleasant. We walked up the hill to some of the temples and overlook areas, then wandered around the lake, strolling and talking. Just a bit on the chilly side, but quite pleasant when we were in the sun or walking with the light wind behind us.

Much of the lake is water or very thin ice, but people were out ice fishing toward the south end.

It is a fair distance around the lake, and we were in no hurry, so the afternoon was getting along by the time we got back toward the north end of the park. We saw someone surrounded by people; he had a large brush, which he had dipped in water, and was writing on the pavement.

Xu couldn’t read it from the side, went around to look at it from directly below, still couldn’t read it. She deduced that it was Korean, that the crowd was a group of Korean tourists.

Speaking of foreigners: I scooped up a handful of coins before I left home, left over from my last visit to China — I thought. When I was looking for subway fare today, I scooped them out of my pocket. Xu laughed. Most of them were Japanese! That explains why I thought they looked funny. I visit China far more often than Japan.

We took the subway back to Dongzhimen. Went to a restaurant in the shopping mall, top floor. At street level was a big stage where some moderately famous singer was appearing to promote her new album. As it happened, she was just there to sign autographs for a long line of fans; the music was from her CDs.

It was a new restaurant for Xu, as well (of course) as for me. The drinking water was warm, very welcome on a cold day. Of the dishes we ordered, the most interesting was a bed of rice topped with alternating slices of roast pork and peaches. Pretty good.

Xu walked home while I took the subway back to the stop nearest my hotel. Not a good choice; the subway runs in rings, and I had to change trains twice to get from one ring to the other and back near the hotel. I subsequently just walked (or ran) both directions on this route.

Getting dark and probably colder, and jet lag was rearing its ugly head, so I was happy enough to pack it in. A good day. Thanks, Xu.

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One Response to “Beijing: the Summer palace in Winter”

  1. chancealberg Says:

    My favorite memory of Beijing was at the Summer Palace in the winter. It’s such a beautiful and serene place.
    Enjoyed the post:)


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