Friday, October 5, 2012

5 October 2012 -- Journal Log

Scooter's Journal Log
Earth Date Friday, 5 October 2012

met up with Peter, Lena, and Irshad at 10 am • took the subway to the Summer Palace • once topside we realized we were all hungry and went to KFC for lunch

then we walked to the entrance of the Palace and were disappointed there were no guides to hire to take us around • bought tickets • went in • were immediately greeted by an official guide • we agreed to hire him • his name was Jiang but he had chosen the name Joey as his English name because he liked the Matt LeBlanc character from "Friends" so much and fancied himself a ladies man • we really enjoyed him and the information he gave us was invaluable • I had been there twice before, of course, but I couldn't remember half of what I had learned before and you learn something new every time anyway

this time I learned that the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace are connected by a waterway which you can travel there one way only by boat • Joey did not recommend it claiming the water was polluted and smelled foul • the whole experience at the Summer Palace ended up costing a lot of money, but it was totally worth it • we climbed what seemed like a million steps to the high temple where we could see most of Beijing • it was an impressive sight and experience • at one point, some teenage girls stopped Lena and asked if they could have their picture with her like she was a movie star • it was pretty sweet • they asked to be in a picture with me too, not sure why • Joey took us to a few of the Palace shops to purchase cloisonné, paintings, and trinkets – in 中國 / Zhōngguó, the guides will earn 5% of sales in commission when they bring guests to the shops

Peter bought a wonderful painting of the Chinese character for happiness for his flat, and I really wanted but resisted a Xiong Mao cloisonné bowl and carp for my coffee table • then we walked through the world's longest covered walkway — built so the Emperor could walk from the palace to the lake without being exposed to the rain or too much sun — until we reached the marble boat • after that we said our goodbyes to Joey who gave us his card and promised us a better tour next time if we wanted to go to the Great Wall • Peter was supposed to leave us and go back for a Dragon Dance rehearsal, but by the time we got back on the subway and heading to San Li Tun, he decided it would be too late and he would miss the rehearsal anyway • so he stayed with us and we arrived at San Li Tun – a favorite ex-pat area around 4:30 pm • we met up with Phil at The Bookwork — a cool western bookstore café

they all shopped around for books while I sat and checked into FourSquare and just rested

I really wanted to stay there for waffles, but we ended up deciding to walk over to where the Apple Store is and go to an English pub-like restaurant called The Union • we had a very nice dinner and then dessert at Cold Stone Creamery • Phil informed us on the subway ride home that the Moviebox Theatre at San LI Tun has the best selection of western films in all of Beijing, and I was kind of disappointed since I would have liked to have checked it out

I arrived home to find no internet service, but worked on written parts of journal getting closer to having it all written so I can publish!

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