First Day in Beijing
Our first full day in China was a nice way to ease ourselves into our visit. We ate a fairly leisurely breakfast at the hotel, which consisted of a very interesting selection of food items ranging from fried eggs, French toast and cereal to barbecue pork buns, French fries, and spicy salads.
Our hotel is located next to Beihai park, which is a beautiful, large, walled-in park that contains a large lake, walk ways and parkland. Within a few meters of the entrance the sounds of the city drop away and you are taken over by people happily talking and bugs chirping (quite loudly). We were there on a Saturday so there were many people about enjoying their day off, wandering around, and enjoying the day. On the lake there were people floating around in paddle boats; and on the shore there were people taking part in all sorts of activities.
There was one gentleman showing off his ping pong skills by repeatedly bouncing a ball off of the side of a sign in the park while singing and dancing. Jiulin was quite impressed (and maybe a little jealous?).
Further along there was a man with what appeared to be a very oversized calligraphy brush painting pictures on the sidewalk with water. Jiulin says that is is less a matter of creating pictures and more of a task in concentration, since the image will just disappear as it dries.
There is a lot to see in the park. There are lovely willow trees surrounding the lake, lotus flowers blooming in the lake, birds flying around and the occasional cat sitting in the shade. These are the things we were paying the most attention to, some other visitors to the park were paying attention to us.
We are starting to get a very small taste of how celebrities feel, we hadn’t been in the park for more than 20 minutes and 3 people had asked to have their picture taken with us, others had [not so] stealthily taken our picture and Tammie had been asked to dance.
One of the things people seem to enjoy doing is dancing in the park, there are organized groups and couples enjoying a nice fox trot or jive. One of these couples had taken a break from dancing to take our picture and before we knew it, Tammie was swiped off her feet and into a waltz and photo shoot.
We wandered around the park for maybe 3-4 hours and decided to find somewhere to sit down and have tea. We went to a tea house and had tea served to us in the traditional fashion. It was delicious. From there we decided to see if we could buy snacks or fruit to take back to the hotel; we were directed down a street that we would have completely otherwise passed over which took us to what appeared to be a residential street. We were able to find a fruit stand a little bit similar to the ones that pop up in the summer from BC except in addition to the peaches, plums and pears there were watermelons, dragon fruit and other melons that smelt heavenly. We picked some of those up, as well as a $0.60 beer for each of us to drink as we wandered home, because after all it was a hot summer day and what is more refreshing than that?
We went to a hot pot restaurant for dinner, where they place a pot full of hot water on your table then serve you various vegetables and meats and you place the items in to allow them to cook. It was delicious. We ordered way too much, and ate all of it. We wandered a little more after dinner before heading back to the hotel to call it an evening.
Four acupuncture students from MacEwan University are learning and traveling in China this month.