Beijing Zoo, Lama Temple, Hutong Tour
Trip Start Jun 16, 2008
36Trip End Jul 20, 2008
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The tour started today at the Beijing Zoo. At present, the zoo houses over 7,000 creatures of 600 different species, including the giant panda, red-crowned crane and Pere David's deer-all unique to China-as well as the African giraffe, rhinoceros, chimpanzee and antelope; American continent; wild ox from Europe; and elephant and gibbon from India.
However, we only visited the pandas. There were well over 20 pandads in a bunch of habitats. I saw most of them very close up and it was definitely the most pandas I have ever seen in one spot!
Next we went to the Lama Temple. The Lama Temple, or Yanghegong, has a long history. It was originally built in 1694 and originally used as official residence for court eunuchs of the Ming dynasty and was converted to the royal court of Prince Yongzheng(Yin Zhen) a son of Emperor Kang Xi of the Qing Dynasty. Before he ascended the throne, during the 33rd year (1693) of Kangxi's reign of the Qing dynasty, it was remamed Yonghegong. After the prince came to the throne in 1723, half of the residence was used as an imperial palace. The Lama Temple is now a typical Tibetan Monastery. I was impressed with the amount of temples. I would go inside one andthen there wasabackdoor that led to anew small courtyard and then another temple. Each temple had different styles of Budha and an area to pray. Many people worshipped with incense too. The final temple had amassive 26 meter tall Budha that had been carved from just one piece of wood.
Next we visited an area of China that looks very much the same as hundreds of years ago. Here I was lucky enough to have lunch inside one family's home whereI enjoyed home cooked Chinese food. It was delicious!
When we left their jome we enjoyed a rickshaw ride for a Hutong Tour. The hutong is basically old, narrow streets.
Our last stop for the tour was Beijing's Bell Tower and Drum Tower. I made the climb to the top of the Drum Tower. From there I was rewarded with great views of the city. I even witnessed the drum ceremony from the top of the tower.
I arrived back to my hotel at about 4PM and I watched some of the EuroCup on television. Around 6:30PM I was picked up and went to the Chinese Opera. It is not like an opera in the U.S. although it was as boring as one! There were subtitles that missed the mark. At least the costumes were stunning.
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