China, Day 8 – June 3, 2018

In the morning, the room that  housed our dinner buffet the night before became the room that  now housed our breakfast buffet.  At home, Nick typically eats a very small breakfast (truth be told, a few pieces of chocolate).  My breakfast is oatmeal in the  winter,  and my cousin Janet’s recipe for zucchini, flax and banana muffins in the summer. The breakfast buffet before us was quite different.  We saw sushi, dim sum, eggs prepared many ways with sausages and bacon, chicken prepared several ways, veggies, fried rice, watermelon, cantaloupe, and the pastries I mentioned yesterday that look like Portuguese pastela de nata. We tried some, but not all, of these goodies!

Yesterday  Nick signed onto a site called WeChat, which would enable us to be in contact with  Anna and Liang. When a person sends a message in his or her own language, the recipient presses a button to translate it into his or her language, automatically. Brilliant!

While we were waiting in the lobby, Anna wrote to say that she would not be joining us today. Along came Liang, accompanied by today’s guide, who introduced himself as William.  Fortunately for us, William spoke excellent English. He explained that today’s first stop would be the Summer Palace.

The Summer Palace is a must-see  for tourists, and it is also enjoyed by the locals. The Palace was originally built  in 1750 as a place for the emperor,  his family, and his staff to escape from Beijing’s summer heat. We think of a palace as being one building, but Beijing’s Summer Palace contains  temples, gardens, pavilions,  bridges, gate towers and corridors. A lake fills much of  the parkland in the palace property, and many people were enjoying boat rides.

One of the  Palaces’ most striking features is called the Long Corridor.  Indeed, it is the longest corridor of its type in the world. Its sides are open, but it is covered  by a roof that  was intended to shield the emperor and his family  from the elements while enjoying their surroundings. The  ceiling contains  more than 14,000 paintings depicting scenes from Chinese history, mythology, and literature, as well as many flowers, birds, and fish. Truly spectacular, the Summer Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

William explained that our next stop would be Tienanmen Square.  Although there were many people there,  it is such a huge space—one of the ten largest squares in the world—that it didn’t feel crowded. I had  not known in advance that Tienanmen Square contains the Monument to People’s Heroes, the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum of China, and the Mausoleum of Mao. William explained that the portrait of Mao is replaced annually because of the strong sunlight.

Soon it was time for lunch. William asked if we liked noodles. Liang took us to a restaurant that specialized in them,  and he presented us with a meal that was more elaborate than the one we enjoyed the day before. There were many other dishes in addition to noodles. You can see tofu designed to look like mah-jongg tiles, chicken with peanuts, a vegetable dish and meat between deep fried bread, which William called a “hamburger.”

After lunch, it was time to go to Gu’an. This suburb is the home of one of the preschools we would visit.  We were taken to  a  lovely home at which we would be staying. There we were joined by an English-speaking  teacher from the preschool named Arla. She showed us to our spacious bedroom with  private bathroom on the second floor.  Having had a very busy day,  Nick and I both enjoyed a nap.

Later that day, we met Julian, a college student who was interning at the preschools. His room was on the first floor of our residence. We learned that Julian is a physics major who is studying Chinese. This was  a great opportunity for him  to take a summer job that would enable him to teach English while using his Chinese skills. Julian told us that we would be picked up to go out for dinner with some teachers.

Julian did the translating from the menu, because it contained no English.  We selected various kinds of soup that ranged in heat from “mild” to  “on fire.”  As usual, we tried everything. Nick, a fellow physics major,  enjoyed chatting with Julian.  Back in our quarters after dinner, we marveled about the amazing day we had shared.

8400 steps



3 thoughts on “China, Day 8 – June 3, 2018

  1. So fun to see the pictures of the Summer Palace which Tony and I visited in 1995 when we were in China for the UN’s 4th World Women’s Conference (at which Hillary Clinton spoke). I loved the Palace’s stone boat and the beautiful paintings on the lintels.

  2. I took the time this morning to catch up on the first delightful week of your extraordinary adventure! The dozens of culinary treats are truly remarkable when one considers Nicks inability to eat the simplest meal just a short time ago. That alone is a miracle, not to mention the dozens of new friends you always have a knack for making, the hundreds of new sites for your eyes to feast upon and the thousands of steps you’ve taken. This is truly a Great Adventure indeed! I’m so happy for you both. Thank you for reminding us all to embrace new adventures every day and here’s to the remainder of yours we’ve yet to uncover! Happy trails.

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