Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tour 2 part 3: summer palace

In my tour group were 2 Sudanese Muslims, a Taiwanese Buddhist, a
Singaporean vegefishytarian... And me. You can imagine my greedy
undisciplined heathen eyes lighting up as lunch was served and I had
the pick of the litter.

The summer palace grounds was our last stop. We took a dragon-esque
boat over the giant man-made lake to the residential grounds. Which
towered over the garden. As much as I wanted to take a look around, I
don't think I could stand another three big flights of stairs!

From one end of the residential grounds to the other is the longest
corridor in the world. And I don't mean omglongest - our guide said it
actually was the longest, like proper longest. I dunno if that's true,
but it was pretty damn long.

Beijing gets a fair share of rain in the summer, and this corridor was
built so that the emperor could still take walks when it got wet

The summer palace was built during the qing dynasty, which was the
last dynasty before socialism took hold. The Qing court were
manchurian - one of china's ethnic groups; 3rd or 4th I'm the
population ranks, according to the most recent census. The Ming
dynasty before them were Han, if that helps illustrate how the
different groups 'cooperated' to shape the country's history.

It was rather picturesque, but by then, I'd run a little out of steam.
We had to spend the 30 minutes prior to accessing the palace grounds
inside a beautiful but deadly boring pearl shop as part of a condition
to get our tickets. Pain in the arse. I love pearls but cmon man, hell

I'm exhausted now. Walking, sweating, carrying shit around, stuffing
the face, which is now starting to get a bit round - what a difficult
life! ;) looking to hit a couple more culture traps tomorrow and then
spend the remaining day.5 bumming around, buying pressies and getting

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