On Sunday, we decided to go to the Summer Palace in the northwestern part of Beijing. We hopped on the metro (super convenient and crazy cheap) and headed there. As usual, it was extremely packed – over 58,000 people were expected to visit there that day. At the entrance, you could already see parts of the temple up on the hill – it was a stunning palace! We couldn’t wait to hike up to the top! It was nestled in the hill and there was a walk up to the top…it was a really neat hike because you were walking through rocks and really beautiful palace buildings!
At various spots along the walk around the palace, there were people who sat with a stack of cucumbers and would peel them for you for 1 Yuan (about 15 cents). My dad and I both love cucumbers, so we got some.
The majority of the Palace is water so once you get to the top, you walk down to the huge lake below. We grabbed some lunch and then decided to explore the water. There were a ton of boats on the lake – lots of paddle boats but I decided I wanted to go on the dragon shaped boats…this is China afterall! We got tickets and then got in line – we were first in line and made sure to keep it that way so we could get the best seats! Once our boat got there, we ran on the boat to get the seats with the best view.
We decided it was time to head to our next destination for the day, so we got in line for the dragon boat back to where we had started. While in line, the family in front of us turned around and were so excited to see Americans! The parents immediately started pushing their sons in our direction and they started speaking English to us to practice. This happened to us on several occasions but this one was particularly funny. The proud look on their parents’ face was priceless…we were happy to leave a positive impression of Americans on them.
One of the other funny aspects about the trip was the fact that many Chinese people wore t-shirts that had English phrases on them – they were often phrased in a way that I would never say, but I guess they make sense….while in line, we saw this gem of a t-shirt phrase: “Think Less Stupid More.” – Great advice, haha.
We had been riding the subway quite a bit while in China but we never once were able to get a seat but on the way back from the Summer Palace, my mom and dad scored a seat!!
We took a detour on the way home from the Summer Palace to see the Olympic Stadium from the 2008 Summer Olympics and that was really neat. I spent my whole life wanting to be in the Olympics and it was really cool to see the place where the games took place.
The stadium was really crazy to see in person and Ryan walked around to see some of the US medal winners that were engraved on some of the stones in the area.
On the walk back, we had another encounter where we noticed that people were obviously trying to take pictures of their son with us in the background. It was important to us that we are good ambassadors for the US and so we walked over to take a picture with the boy. They were so excited about it! As we did that, Ryan took a picture of the encounter.
That evening, we went to the Legend of Kung Fu show – it was action packed and an excellent end to a great Sunday in China!
To finish off the night, Ryan and I learned some Kung Fu…