Tai Chi, Summer Palace and the opera

Tai Chi, Summer Palace and the opera
Beijing, China

Beijing, China


Started the day at the Temple of Heaven about a mile south of Tianamen Square. It’s worth a visit as in the morning you’ll see a host of locals doing their own thing; Tai Chi, group singing, ballroom dancing or walking their caged birds or playing checkers. Elly and I skipped the temple and hung out with the folks in the park. Elly tried her hand at Tai Chi Ball which is a bit like trying to keep a ball stationary on a tennis racquet as you perform a number of Tai Chi moves. Harder than it looks but she did pretty well. The ballroom dancing classes were fabulous with young and old waltzing to some very distorted classical Chinese music. We had lunch on the way to the Summer Palce at a Szechuan resturant favoured by Deng Xiaoping. Even Ted Heath had a meal with the old reformer here. Note respectful entry concerning former Chinese leader and fathers of modernisation. The Summer Palace was dreadful. I’m sure it would be gorgious on a spring morning when 300,000 people didn’t have a similar idea. In short it could be beautiful but as all Elly and I saw was the backs of young Chinese holidays makers so I have no idea. For dinner we went to the Beijing Opera. What can I say? The singing was hilarious (high pitched, screeching, incomprehensible) but then Wagner isn’t so different. Quite fun as Elly and I were in juvanile hysterics at the subtitles. The English was eccletic. So first impressions of Beijing? Very modern, buzzing with the count down to the Olympics, clean, affluent and confident. I’d love to come back and spend some time looking beneith the surface. This vast, massively populated city has a real buzz.


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