Beijing Travel Blog› entry 110 of 117 › view all entries
With what men would refer to as severe flu and women might call a cold, the last day in Beijing was always going to be a bit of a struggle. That said, I still managed to motivate myself enough to hit the streets and see three of the major sights in the capital. I was happy, mind, that there were no activities planned with my group and I could do things at my own pace.
The Temple Of Heaven Park is the place to people-watch. The highly-rated temple in the grounds was a bit of a disappointment (not only due to the characteristic flock of Chinese tourists that swarm around it, but the fact the inside was roped off), but the grounds made up for it. Everywhere you looked a different pastime was being performed: from calligraphy to tai chi to communal singing and then others things I can only describe, such as hitting a stick with two sticks and performing ballet with a bat and a ball(!) It was all very gay.
Although a fair trek out of town, the Aussies and I headed to the Summer Palace, originally built for the emperor to escape the blistering heat of summer in Beijing. Was air-con not good enough for him?! If you ask me, anyway, that was just an excuse for its creation. He probably used it in much the same way as every man uses his local: to get away from his missus. Or, in this case, all 50,000+ of them.
"Sorry, I can't put up with this any more, I'm going to the Summer Palace and I won't be back till late."
"Fine. Run off to her, her, her and her like you always do."
"Look, I told you; none of the other 49,999 mean anything to me."
It turns out that when you go to the Summer Palace it starts raining the moment you get there and then stops the moment you leave, after your shoes and socks are soaked through and you've had enough of the general public.
Slightly annoyed, Steve and I decided to risk it and head to see the Lama Temple, probably the best Tibetan temple outside Tibet, so I'm told. It was a very nice temple, actually, but I can't help but feel at this point in my trip I'm getting a little templed-out. The Buddhas are now looking similar from place to place and even those Chinese lion guardians aren't as fearsome as they once looked.