Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Summer Palace

The Summer Palace is about an hour from the Forbidden City. It is where the Emperors went to escape the oppressive heat and humidity of summer in Beijing. It is all man-made, including the lakes and lagoons.

The weather was getting even more threatening. And like most of what we had already seen in Beijing, it was very crowded. It is one place I wish we had more time and better weather, as I love gardens.

The Summer Palace is known for The Long Corridor, a covered walkway famous for both its length (about 1/2 mile) and its more than 14,000 paintings.

Like the colors in the Forbidden City, I was quite taken with the colors and paintings on the ceilings and posts within the Long Corridor. As I walked along the corridor, one painting after another grabbed my attention. Yes, I definitely dawdled here. I could have spent my entire visit in at the Summer Palace simply strolling the Long Corridor.

We had our one, almost major, mishap at the Summer Palace. David told us to walk to the end of the Long Corridor and he would meet us there. Our San Francisco friends, Carol and Bill, did just that. I would have also but Jerry was walking on the outside and spotted that David had stopped at the pier where one could board boats to 'cruise' the lake. He had gotten tickets for the group to do just that and we all boarded, with Jerry and I picking up the rear. As David usually does, he counts the group members to make sure everyone is present. He came up short.

With several separate areas on the boat, Jerry and I didn't notice that Carol and Bill were missing. (We thought they had boarded before us.) The boat headed back to shore. Fortunately, it didn't take long for Carol and Bill to find us. They had followed David's instructions and, yes, they had walked all the way to the end of the Long Corridor. Upon realizing no one else from the group was there, they traced back their steps. Very smart on their part. Without too long a delay, but admittedly a very nervous one, we were soon on our way again.

The boat ride was nice and, of course, would have been nicer if the weather had been better. But the best part for me was this adorable little girl that I sat next to.

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