After all that last night, I stayed up late talking with another guest from Switzerland. He’s on a six month sabbatical that he recieved for working for the same company for ten years. Oh, America. How backwards you can be. He’s also going to New Zealand and shared some notes about it from another guest he met.
Early starts are never going to happen. I book the Great Wall Jinshanling section through the hostel for tomorrow. I eat breakfast.
Summer Palace time! Despite paying an entrance fee, you have to pay for a map separately. Really? It’s a nice map for sure but I already have one from a guide book.
I figure if I keep going along the water, I’ll reach most of the sites or at least sign posts. Good strategy. I reach the long corridor. It reminds me of the row of torii gates at Fushimi Inari in Kyoto. People are just hanging out on the railings. Every beam is painted and I don’t think the scenes repeat themselves. A woman stops me and says something about my plant clips. Not sure if it’s good or bad… I don’t understand. It’s not the first reaction I get. I think they’re surprised a white girl is interested in their trends– for better or worse.
I keep going and halfway through the corridor I reach the entrance to the Longevity Hill. I make note of it and keep going. I come across a few quiet spots and I’m all over the round doors.
Now let’s see if I can remember which is which. This is the Garden of Virtue and Harmony. It’s an opera theater whose actors entertained the Empress Dowager Cixi.
I’m getting tired so I take an ice pop break and enjoy the lakeside view.
I backtrack to Longevity Hill to start the climb up the stairs to the Tower of the Fragrance of the Buddha. I am not making up these names. It looks higher than it actually is. I expected more stairs but the views are lovely all the same.
One thing I’ve figured out about Chinese people is that I’m invisible. Whether it’s the line cutting yesterday or just now, the guy who steps in front of me as I’m taking a picture. So I wait for him and then get a great shot. The view!
Here’s the long way down.
So close to the end! I’m near the beginning again. The last stop is Suzhou Street. The areas are closing up now and the street is fairly empty with some of the shops closed. It’s mostly tourists stuff. I like the setting though.
On the way back I stopped by the Olympic Park to see the stadiums lit up. The area is huge and they’ll be hosting an event next month.