Thursday, November 20, 2008

summer palace in winter

After the cloisonne factory, we headed off to the famed Summer Palace. I had high expectations for this as people have told me how beautiful a sight it is.

However, there was a logic that had escaped me. It is called the Summer Palace for a reason. Due to it's location to Kunming Lake (a lake which was enlarged to the shape of a longevity peach as the emperor's gift to his mother), it is several degrees cooler here than the rest of Beijing. The Imperial Family made this their refuge because it was much colder here in the summer. Well, it's much colder here in the winter too.

So cold, that seeing the area was not that enjoyable. Even though we had layered up for the Great Wall, the wind from the lake seemed to seep right through. Instead of appreciating the artistry of the outdoor long corridor, it just seemed very long.
In fact, the highlight of the event was when we went into a gift shop to warm up. The gift shop sold all sorts of cd's, all Chinese music except for...Kenny G? Who knew? He had the distinct honor of being the only non-asian cd sold in all the gift shops of the Summer Palace. Maybe the Empress Dowager was a fan?But in the brief moments the cold did not bother us (usually just exiting a gift shop), I could see that, even in winter, the place had a silent beauty.

I just needed to scrape the frost off my glasses first.