© 2009 Steven Wong

Hot town, summer in the city…

Ok, so it wasn’t really that hot, and neither is the back of my neck very dirty or gritty, but last Sunday, i went to the Summer Palace in Beijing, with some people from China Study Abroad, the agency I applied through to study here. This is the palace that was built to house the imperial family during their escape from the heat of central Beijing.

The Summer Palace in Beijing

The Summer Palace in Beijing

Truth be told, in modern times, the Summer Palace isn’t all that far from the centre, but I’m sure that back in the mid-1700’s, when the palace was built, it felt like quite a trek to get there. For us, it was a simple 20-minute coach ride from Wudaokou in northwest Beijing, where many of the city’s universities are located.

Looking down the Long Corridor in the Summer Palace.

Looking down the Long Corridor in the Summer Palace.

I’ve been to the Summer Palace before, with my folks back in 2004. It’s still a pretty impressive sight to see though, especially the Long Corridor (built for the empress to enjoy the palace gardens without fear of the elements) and the hilltop temple.

The Foxiang Ge Tower, overlooking the palace lake.

The Foxiang Ge Tower, overlooking the palace lake.

I was too busy snapping pics to really pay attention to the tour guide, which I feel slightly bad about since it was my Mandarin tutor, Olivia, who was doing it. One thing I do remember hearing was that the palace was a favourite of the original “Dragon Lady”, Empress Dowager Cixi, who was in fact the de facto ruler of China during her life in the imperial house.

The Marble Boat in the Summer Palace.

The Marble Boat in the Summer Palace.

The Marble Boat wasn’t actually built to cruise around the manmade lake. Instead, it was meant as a symbol of the stability of the reigning Qing dynasty. Ah, the follies of predicting anything lasting an eternity.

The Seventeen Arch Bridge in the Summer Palace.

The Seventeen Arch Bridge in the Summer Palace.

There’s a boatload more pics (pardon the pun) to see on my flickr page. Check it out!

www.flickr.com


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