Saturday, March 1, 2014

Day 2: Summer Palace, Crickets and Beijing Opera

This day was just full of Activities and more!

 Our first stop was the Summer Palace, this is the place where the Palace the royal family went when it got too hot in the Forbidden City. It is in the shades of the mountains and has a lake right next to it, so it has a lot of good Funk Shway and it is cool.
 The place is well known for having the longest corridor in the world, it's in the Guinness book of records and everything.

 It also has a boat that is completely made out of marble. Basically, it doesn't move but it sure looks cool.

But really, the thing that stood out the most was the random group of elderly people group singing in the middle of the palace:

So yeah, basically, they were singing about how great China is, the same song they were brainwashed to sing while they were children. It was fun though cause the moment they saw us and immediately had us in the center of our group to sing with them. Oh yeah we're getting the feeling. 

After the Summer Palace, we went to lunch which was located at the Hudong, translated to small streets and alleys or Old China Homes. It was super fun going there. We had to get on these bicycle drawn carriages:
Then when we got to the areas that had even smaller alleys we got out and walked. Along the way we stopped at a small market and it was just fun walking through there.
It wouldn't be China without a sketchy market

So we finally arrived at the home and lunch. It was at a local's home and they made the food themselves. It was so lovely and so much food. That lady had to have been working all day long to serve 24 of us. While we were eating a chicken came in to say hello; 

Then, for entertainment, the husband brought out his favorite hobby. Cricket raising, and fighting. He had every kind of cricket, big ones, baby ones and gladiators. Sadly, it wasn't fighting season and so no crickets were fighting. But it was still interesting to see the famous cricket man.

After the Hudong, amazing lunch, and another quick bicycle carriage ride; we headed to the Beijing Zoo. To see the Pandas, oh yeah Pandas!

Even red pandas :)

 The visit was super short though, I think we spent more time waiting for people going to the bathroom than being in the zoo. We went to the Panda enclosure, took the pictures, and watched a crazy snub nose monkey try to murder us. (thankfully, he was well enclosed) Then we left. Very quick.
We went to dinner a little early because we had to get to our last event. First off, we ate a ton of food during lunch and then we had an early dinner, so we were really not that hungry but it was such good food!

Anyways, our last big event was the Beijing Opera. And it was.... interesting. Very beautiful, there was ribbon dancing:
Acrobatics and awesome costumes and makeup.

But, it was an opera and a Chinese type of opera, screechy voices and off key songs with a lot of random instruments. This might of been popular during the time of the forbidden city and such but oh man. At one point, the empress asked the king if she should dance and sing for him to relax and I seriously thought he would say 'no, shut up and I will relax better.'
check out Beijing Opera on Youtube; you'll see what I mean.

Surprisingly, I did end up enjoying the opera, there were a lot of cool things about it. As long as you can get over the screechy off-key-ness.

Awesome day, and it is going to just keep getting better. Adventure is out there!

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