Summer Palace - Perfect Bike

Trip Start Jul 27, 2008
Trip End Aug 27, 2008

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Had a second day off today so I went to the Summer Palace. I met Shu Bai and Rose there early afternoon and we walked around this magnificent park.

It was the 'vacation home' of the emperors for hundreds of years yet still close to the center of the city. It's about a mile square and a huge lake in the middle of it. So many little paintings in the Long Hall, beams of incredible painted woodwork and quaint scenes of various buildings around the lake This is on the way to the main palace.

We walked around to the main palace on Longevity Hill.

After climbing an impossible amount of steps, we made it to the Buddhist Temple at the top. Everything was man made including the lake which provided the dirt for the hill itself.
After coming down from the hill, we walked around to the Marble Boat.
Very lovely. We decided to take a boat to the other side and it was interesting in that it was like a giant living room on the water, with nice wooden chairs to view the scenery.

On the other side, we walked over the 17 arch bridge. On the way out we ran into Richard, my co-worker who I went to the great wall with yesterday. He had been to The Temple of Heaven, a lovely temple downtown. I haven't been yet.
I have been looking for a folding bike to take home, and went to the Dahon store on the way home. I bought a great bike, and they threw in some accessories and gave me some discounts. It's an almost full size bike, it supports my heavy weight, but folds down small and ways about 25 pounds. Perfect to stash in my apartment, and put in the back of the van. After the purchase, we walked into a Hunan restaurant. It was just a local place but with wonderful food. When we got the bill, it was around 350 Yuan ($45- $50) for the 3 of us and we didn't think of it, but a few minutes later the waitress came back and said that she gave us the wrong bill. It was around 135 yuan or $18 for the 3 of us. Great deal and great food.
A little bug note. I seem to keep meeting interesting insects in our compound. One day a giant Cicada fell down in front of me still alive and I picked it up and it crawled around until I put it on a wall. The next day I saw a giant mantiss or grasshopper bug, leaf green and pretty. I couldn't catch it without hurting it so I stopped trying. At the great wall I had a Ladybug land on my arm. After that I found a few grass hoppers and was catching them. Yes I do actually work, but sometimes these things happen in between the busy times.

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