4 days until the big race. My preperation today is skipping all the organized swims etc in favor of sight seeing and early sleeping. After the fiasco getting to the hotel I didn’t want to get back on the free shuttle for the 9:30 am swim. Instead I decided to take Beijing by storm. I took off to go to the Summer Palace.
Today was my big solo adventure in Beijing. I really love traveling by myself so I planned to have one day on my own to roam around Beijing. the lesson I’m learning overall is that ground transportation here is tough. Today I took the bus and subway to the Summer Palace. The lack of vision, and language barier reallly teamed up against me. I made it, but it took a few hours.
People here are amazing. Most do not speak English, even if they don’t speak English they will go way out of there way to help you. I was having a hard time opening a bottle of water. Some guy stopped to open it for me then walked away. People in Belieze were similarly kind. As a traveler it makes you nervous from time to time. Everytime I got stuck today I just showed random people my paper that one of the volunteers helped me put together. Through pointing and gesturing we figured it out.
Summer palace was the most incredible place I’ve ever visited. Around each corner a new surprise. I tried to take photos with my camera phone, I believe it’s no use. This was a full scensory experience. A pic could never do it justice no matter the quality of the camera.
All the artwork on the buildings was ornate and tactile by nature. the gardens all had strong batanical and spruce fragrences. The willow trees hang almost the the ground and they are soft like feathers. Once in a while the wind blows and all of a sudden your being tickled by a tree. There is periodic Chineese music of all varietys usually quiet in the back ground. Lot’s of fountains.
There was the sound of crickets and animals everywhere. this easily was the most restful place I’ve ever been. I don’t even think I made it to half the main atractions of the park. I was so engrossed in the magic of the place that I just wonndered aimlessly for about 5 hours.
I left I was exausted. I tried and failed to get a cab back to the hotel. I’m not sure what happened. either that cab driver didn’t know where the hotel was, or he didn’t want ot go that far. All I know is that I got in a cab, and right back out. I ended up back on the subway. The way home was slightly more smooth than the way there. Except I got lost and a nice Chinese man who didn’t speak a word of English walked me back to the hotel. People here take hospitality very seriously.
The combination of moving, then flying to China, then getting 3 hours of sleep, and a busy day has left me sort of recked. I’m back at the hotel watching HBO Asia. Strange that HBO Asia seems to be all things from the late 80’s and early 90’s. It’s the only English chanel, so I’ll take it.