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March 30, 2014 / windlessly

China Chronicles 3.29- Summer Palace

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It’s been a long day, but of course we had to go touring parts of Beijing as soon as possible! I think part of the reason they scheduled so many things on both Friday and Saturday was to prevent us from giving into jetlag. And also just to give us a chance to see the beauty and history of the city of Beijing. The PKU students have been awesome people to hang out with and converse with. They accompanied us on our tour of the Beijing Urban Planning Hall as well as the Summer Palace today.

To my knowledge, the Beijing Urban Planning Hall is just a museum-type place that tracks the history and development of the city of Beijing, which was made northern capital of China in 1403 during the Ming Dynasty. It was pretty cool to see all the topographical maps as well as enormous models that they made of the city.

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And then the FOOD at lunch. Dim sum dishes just. Kept. On. Coming.

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This picture doesn’t do it justice. We all had food coma.

Oh yeah here’s a picture of my roommate and I in a different part of the Beijing Urban Planning Hall!

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In the afternoon we walked, took the Beijing subway, and then visited the Summer Palace, a gorgeous area around the Kunming lake that the emperor would visit when it would get too hot during the summer. It was crowded- not only was it Saturday, but apparently it was one of the best pollution days in a while (rain and wind helped to dissipate the smog). It was a huge area. We paid 10 yuan to get in but could easily have spent the entire day walking around to different areas.

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It was such a beautiful place. But also a very funny contrast- peaceful waters, serene displays of cherry blossoms and magnificent trees, reverent arcades and historical buildings… and then the mob of people speaking loud Chinese and stampede of tour guide groups emblazoned with red caps, led by a flag-toting, microphone equipped spokesperson.

Our group of Stanford and PKU students eventually split up. I went back to campus and had beef noodle soup for dinner at the dining halls for 5 yuan (less than $1). Compared to the $12 per swipe at Stanford, it’s unbelievable how good the food is (PKU does get subsidies for its food, but still…). A small group of us Stanford students chilled around, visited WuMei for supplies and routers to get our wifi, and just chatted. I still don’t know everyone yet, but it’s a fun group for sure. A couple of Beijingers have come up to us randomly and asked about our English-speaking skills, which I find to be really funny.

ALSO, tried my first taste of boba here at a street nearby the dining halls. Verdict: super different from the states, has a much stronger and authentic tea flavor. The taste of the pearls are very conservative but of good consistency. I’m a fan. More updates on other boba places to come =]

Embracing my inner asian more and more by the minute.

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