In the Spring of 1991, my childhood friend, Cheryl met me in Hong Kong, where she spent the last of my three week business trip with me, and from there, we began our China adventure to the cities of Shanghai, Beijing and the ancient capital, Xian. I kept a very detailed journal from start to finish of my awesome journey, nearly twenty-five years ago, and decided this would make a great travel series for Travelin' Cousins. Over the course of the next two months, I will post chronological segments of my journal on my respective Throwback Thursdays. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed re-living my trip! - Elisa
P.S.: We do not wish to offend anyone, but political correctness was not our thing as early twenty-somethings, so be warned.
I thought it would be smart to do a recap of our day thus far since it has been jam-packed with sightseeing. We left the hotel at 9:00 AM and by 11:40 we had toured the Forbidden City. It was sweltering hot, to say the least.
Although it wasn't on our scheduled tour, Harry, our guide took us to the Beijing Zoo so we could see the Pandas. There were three adults and one adorable little baby panda. They mostly slept and one was munching away on some bamboo.
I got very upset because the baby was outside, separated from his mommy, while she was inside eating lunch. It also bothered me that they were in captivity. The zoo as a whole was pretty inhumane. There was a tiger chained to a pole, which literally made me want to cry for his loneliness.
A quick lunch at the Friendship Hotel and by 3:45 we were off to the Summer Palace, the summer retreat of the Empress Dowager (PuWi- "The Last Emperor's" - great aunt). I have to tell you, this was one of my favorite sights on this trip because of its scenic setting on the water. The original summer palace was built in the 12th Century, but was destroyed by the English and French forces in the 19th Century and now, only ruins remain. This place we visited was the re-located Summer Palace.
Kunming Lake, which surrounds the palace, occupies over three-quarters of the 716 acres of the palatial grounds. The pavilions, walkways, bridges and halls are surrounded by water and the hills.
I could not stop taking photographs and quite honestly, they did not do justice to what it looked like up close and in person. There was a huge gorgeous white marble boat at the bank of the water which was truly magnificent!
This lovely place was an enchanting way to spend the afternoon!
And just so ya know, I wore my hat all day at the zoo and at the Sumer Palace - Cheryl hates these hats and refused to wear her's.
See you in two weeks for Part 9: Last Evening in Beijing.