Our day 3 program:
» Summer Palace
» Silk Store
» Foot Massage Centre
» Niujie Mosque
» Tea House
» Acrobatic Show
First destination: Summer Palace
The first thing you’d notice when entering the area was the lake. It was huge! And it was the more impressive because it was man-made! Yup, the whole Kunming Lake was dug up and the excavated soil was used to build the Longevity Hill upon which the palace complex was located.
That was from Wikipedia.
But the area was really beautiful. And very windy. I mean, very very windy. Quite warm, too.
It was too bad that we spent such a short time there. I would’ve loved to visit the palace itself and see what’s inside, but again, the guide seemed to be really in a rush to get us to the next destination. I reckon he got a commission for every purchase made by the group he brings in.
Next destination: Silk Store
It’s another of those compulsory places tour groups have to visit, I think. And it’s just next door to the Summer Palace. We were briefly told the story of the silk larvae and how they sacrificed their lives so that the humans can wear silk. It was all very touching et cetera et cetera, right until the salesgirls brought us to the upper floor so that we can spend more of our money buying silk stuff. Hehehe…
In the end, one guy bought a silk pillow for his mother and another a couple of silk quilt sheet sets for himself. I was thinking of buying silk cloth for my mother and sister but the designs were so awful and old, not to mention the exorbitant price, that I decided to just buy them from the arcades at Jalan TAR in KL. At RM 70 a meter, it was really a cut-throat price, don’t you agree?
I even gave the salesgirls some tips on the latest designs of fabric for baju kurung in Malaysia. Well, I hope they were the latest. Hehehehe… They really should do some googling just to stay current.
Next destination: Foot Massage Centre
Again, it was another one of those government-owned, compulsory-to-visit places. It was a totally pointless stop-over which offered nothing of what the place was purportedly for. More like a place to rip off people’s money.
Next destination: Niujie Mosque
Niujie (which means Ox Street or Cow Street) is well known for its highest concentration of Muslim people in Beijing. The Niujie Mosque is the oldest mosque in China, built in the year 996. The architecture style is the standard pagoda, similar to most old buildings in China. I have never seen a mosque with red interior, though. Quite refreshing, I must say. Very chinese.
We spent some time there praying and taking photos.
Next destination: Tea House
The tea house was also government-owned and a compulsory stop-over, but it was a much more pleasant visit than the foot massage centre. We got to taste 4 different types of tea in their original brew. That is, without sugar. I remember one lychee flavour, one Oolong tea, one slimming tea and another one I can’t remember the name. All taste very good.
The ones in the photo above are actually tea, preserved for 20 years or so, on average. The older it is, the more valuable it becomes. And the more expensive, of course. They even gave a certificate to the buyer of this tea, which can be returned on the next purchase for a discount.
I did not purchase any since I am more of a coffee person than tea.
Last destination: Acrobatic Show
The final activity for the day was the acrobatic show at the Chaoyang Theatre, I think. The itinerary did not mention where the show actually was. Some of the acts were awesome, especially the one where they put 5 bikers inside a huge metal globe.
It started with one rider… then 2… then 3.. and the audience were beginning to ooohhh and aaahhh. Then it was 4 riders and everybody was at the edge of their seats. Then it was 5 riders and the theatre was overwhelmed with the sound of everybody shouting in appreciation. It was just awesome! One slip in timing and the whole show could end up in a disaster. But kudos to the skills of these acrobats. Everything was done perfectly.
No wonder they put this as the last act for the show.
It was dinner time after that at the same uninspiring restaurant as the day before, with the same uninspired food. After dinner, we went back to the hotel to rest.
You can view the photos for day 3 here: Beijing Trip 2013 – Day 3