Monday, September 27, 2010

Beijing, part 11: Summer Palace

t1 - Kūnmíng Lake

After three long bus rides, we'd traversed the city and arrived at the gate of the Summer Palace, the 18th and 19th Century pleasure park for the emperors. Hot but a breeze kept us comfortable as long as we didn't move. Lots of people visiting, hanging out, flying kites.

We got some food -- baozi, etc. -- and ate it. We then crossed the 17-Arch Bridge to South Lake Island, home of the Dragon King's Temple.

t4 - 17-Arch Bridge and Yuquan Pagoda

t6 - Seventeen-Arch Bridge

t8 - Lion Fascination

The temple wasn't very photogenic, so we continued onward to the north end of the island.

t10 - Mark and Kūnmíng Lake - Ch

t11 - Stairs of the Dragon King

We fought the tour groups for a seat on one of the dragon boat ferries.
t18 - Dragon Boat Ferries

t13 - Fragrance Pavilion from the Boat

The ferry took us to the ultimate symbol of Empress Dowager Cixi's "let them eat cake" attitude: the marble boat.
t14 - Empress Dowager's Marble Boat
"We don't need a modern navy. We need more playthings for me!" Although by that time (1888), it was probably too late for the empire anyway.

We finally started some souvenir shopping. A dragon, rabbit, and monkey for us and a tiger for Amy. A Monkey King and the ingénue from the opera. Jesus armwrestling Satan -- in 3D!

And then we slowly proceded down the Long Corridor -- with uncountable tour groups.
t17 - Chunlin in the Long Corridor

Some of the tour guides carried national flags that had nothing at all to do with the tour group -- the groups looked all Chinese to me. I suppose the national flags were unique and easy to spot in the crush of humanity.
t15 - Tour Group Not from Spain

t19 - Mark in the Long Corridor - Ch

t22 - Up to the Fragrance Pavilion

Near the East Gate were the main imperial buildings -- the local throne room, etc. Outside the main hall was this qilin -- a strange mix of dragon, deer, fish, ox, and lion -- which is a good omen of serenity and prosperity.
t25 - The Qílín

Outside the East Gate, we caught a bus -- which bus? That bus? It doesn't stop. How about this bus? -- and went to dinner.

I've got more photos from the Summer Palace on flickr, if you'd like to see them.

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