Woke up around 5:00AM China time, got ready and walked over to Behai Park. We walked along Ho Hai Lake and saw a bunch of people fishing. There were several stores and restaurants along the lake, but none of them were open yet. We reached Bei Hai park and paid an entrance fee to get in. There were tons of people exercising and enjoying the morning in the park. There was a old man with a giant brush and water, he was doing calligraphy on the sidewalk. We complimented him on his work and he gave us a Chinese character that he drew on a piece of paper, pretty cool. It was actually a very lovely stroll through the park, there were lots of interesting people. We saw some people kicking a hackee sac type toy around and even some people ribbon dancing.
My aunts joined in with the clapping exercise, it was pretty funny. We hiked up to the White Dagoba, a 36m high temple inside Behai Park. The top had a great view of the entire park and the surrounding area. There was an entrance fee to go inside the Dogoba, so we decided to pass. Instead, I took one of those costume pictures dressed as a Chinese princess.
One of my aunts chatted with some of the locals to find a good place to have lunch. She recommended a place so we started walking toward the area. Along the way, we stopped at Prince Gong's residence. It is one of Beijing's largest private residential compounds. The architecture was very traditional Chinese, with a high door threshold.
Fishing at 6AM!
My aunt told me that this was done to keep women indoors. Since women' feet use to be tied and bound at a young age, it made it extremely difficult for them to walk over the high threshold. All the displays in the house was written in Chinese, so I had a difficult time understanding exactly what I was looking at inside the houses. There were several paintings, clothes, maps and pictures showing the history of the time. They need to put some English translations. We quickly walked through the building and into the rock garden/ rockery in the back. It was a pretty large garden filled with man made rock formations, lakes, gardens, and houses. We walked around a bit but didn't' stay very long because we were getting hungry and tired.
Calligraphy on the sidewalk
It would have been nice to spend more time exploring the grounds though. We hired a bicycle cart to take us to the hutong restaurant that was recommended to us. It was pretty fun riding on the cart, too bad we didn't have time to do a hutong tour. We arrived at the restaurant and it was really cool. It was almost like a food court inside with a bunch of different food stalls. You buy a card and load it with money to use to buy food from the stalls. We ordered a bunch of different food and snacks to try out, it was a very fun experience.
After lunch, we walked back to the hutong to take a cold shower and nap. We were all so tired we passed out within minutes and napped for about 2 hours. After the nap, we shopped around the area before we met Uncle Yi for dinner.
They picked us up and we went for noodles. The food was really good, but I didn't really have much of an appetite. I think my body was still getting use to the time difference, the heat, and all the walking around. After dinner, they took us to get a foot massage. It started out with a super hot foot bath, with some green tea powder infused in the water. While our feet were soaking, we got a head massage followed by a foot, leg, arms, and back massage. It felt so good, it was exactly what I needed after walking all day. They dropped us back off at the hutong and we called it a night.