Thursday, October 2, 2014

On Our Own, Friday in Beijing, October 3

On our own

Friday morning.  It is our last day in Beijing before meeting Heidi and Fred of China Hiking for our Great Wall expedition tomorrow.  It is very foggy and cool with visibility of less than a mile.  So, we are taking a slow morning, reading and writing, and figuring out Pay Pal, which worked on my phone but not on my Ipad, and text messages, which worked on both, but only to and from some people.  Lots of mysteries in China!

Lulu departing the hotel with Laura's luggage

Jim with a last wedding flower

We walked through the park of Temple of Heaven yesterday morning, where people exercised on colorful bars, swings, and rollers, singers performed, and people danced in the open spaces.  It was lovely.  We then made our way to the Museum of Ancient Chinese Architecture, which fortunately had some English labels.  It was fascinating to contemplate 5000 years of Chinese architectural and city planning tradition in the peaceful setting of an abandoned Temple of the Earth. We learned how those elaborate roofs are constructed, and details of standardized sizes and patterns in the wood working.  Too bad we didn't see this before we designed our garage roof.  Wouldn't a Chinese tiled, curved roof have been nice?  I wonder what the Albuquerque code inspectors would have said to that?

Kent stepping through the gate near Round Altar

We had our first bus ride adventure, helped by some sweet and charming young women on the bus.  I pointed to where we wanted to go -- to Tian Tan Hotel.  It was a good thing they helped because although names of the stops flashed across a screen in Pinyin and characters, the names on the map were not those of most of the stops, and our street Xingu Fu Daijie, did not appear.  Get off now!, they said, then walk back to the previous corner.  We had left the Qianmen shopping area, almost panicked by the enormous crowds on the streets, but after all the walking we had already done, it was going to be a long dark trek home, with no taxis in sight.  Once off the bus, we still had a good walk to the hotel, but then in the darkness we saw the garishly red-lit Red Theater, and we were in familiar territory.
magpie? In the park, Temple of Heaven

Hutong at sunset

This will be our last night at Tian Tan (Temple of Heaven) Hotel.  When we return to Beijing we will go to a private room at the Peking International Youth Hostel, which gets good reviews and is just Northeast of the Forbidden City, so a different neighborhood and different experience.  We'll see how we like it.

Just back from walking in another neighborhood park.

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