Around Beijing in a Day
Trip Start Feb 27, 2013
44Trip End Ongoing
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We started off the day by going to the Summer Palace, because it is on my side of the city, and is only about 30 minutes away by taxi from my university. The Palace was built in 1750 for the Royal family to relax and reside during the warmer months. Like the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace covers a huge amount of ground- 742.8 acres; however, the gardens are undoubtedly more beautiful than those in the Forbidden City. The buildings seem to be designed to complement the gardens, whereas in the Forbidden City, the halls are intimidatingly obvious in the sparse courtyards, which I think shows power. The Summer Palace is softer in its layout, with a huge lake, small gardens within the larger one, and plenty of greenery. We were dropped off by the taxi at the back gate, which I had not been to before, so I didn’t recognize much of the back part of the Palace. We worked our way through the gardens to the main gate, where I was much more familiar with the surroundings. We walked through the Long Corridor, which is a 728 meter corridor, which is made entirely of wood, and has 14,000 paintings in total- a different painting on every beam. We were also really excited to see the Marble Boat—an unmovable boat originally built in 1755, but completely remodeled in 1863 by Empress Dowager Cixi using funds embezzled from the Navy. Unfortunately, by the time we actually found it, we discovered that it was covered up due to some restoring work, and so all we could see was a picture of what it usually looks like hanging on the canvas.
Next place on the list was the 798 Art Zone. It was formed after the Wireless Joint Equipment Factory moved out, and leased the plants (including the 798 factory, which the zone was named after)
With some spare time that we had, we went to a shopping centre to walk around for a bit. My Chinese name is 爱美 (Aimei), which means ‘love beauty’, and I happened to see an advertisement of a man with my name written on his chest. My name is certainly not a very ‘Chinese’ name (no Chinese person would ever be named Aimei), so it was written for the meaning. Nevertheless, I got quite excited.
Our last stop on the list was Tiananmen Square
After a hectic day it was time to say goodbye to my visitor who is travelling onwards to London and Amsterdam. I relished the opportunity to introduce Dean to much of my life here, as well as going to see some famous sites that I haven’t had a chance to see this time yet.