The first business of the day is to pick up my train ticket for the start of my trip this evening to Tibet. Next, a visit to the Summer Palace and then a stop at Wal-Mart for train provisions.
Compared to late last night the streets are bustling with activity and I am glad to see a fresh fruit market that is open.
For about US$1, I am chomping down on a fresh pineapple that is as sweet and full of flavor as can be. Like mangoes, this is one fruit I can eat any time of the day, morning, noon or night.
A few minutes later and I am on Subway Line 4 headed for Beigongmen Station and The Summer Palace.
Built in 1750, The Summer Palace was an imperial garden and temporary home of the royal family during the Qing Dynasty. For about five dollars (RMB$30) you can enjoy a part of China's history that in the past only royalty and special guests had the privilege of doing.
I mostly opt for the free stuff except for a ten dollar (RMB$60) boat tour across Kunming Lake that takes us under The Seventeen Arch Bridge and drops us off on South Lake Island.
Today, the weather here is beautiful and it is enjoyable just to stroll the grounds of the palace and take in the scenery. Across The Seventeen Arch Bridge a few of us are entertained by a group of dancers I call “The Summer Palace Girls”.
The Bronze Ox from the mid 1700's and The Blue Iris Stone, the largest stone decoration in any Chinese garden are just a few of the impressive items on display as I make my way to exit out of The East Gate.
I wonder how they knew that I was the extra one that was coming. Very interesting, Kato.