A Beijing community comes to gather
10.14.2007 - 10.14.2007 70 °F
We did homework in the morning, then skated near the hotel at a great little spot for a while, before being kicked out by a security guard. We took the new Beijing subway line number 5 that has been open only three weeks. The entrance was only about 800 yards from the hotel. It was amazingly clean (I guess it should have been after only three weeks) and it took us down to the Temple of Heaven which was as beautiful as the summer palace.
The Temple of heaven is where the Emperors would go to pray for a great harvest among other things. The coolest thing about the Temple of Heaven wasn’t the beauty of the grounds or the architecture. The most wonderful thing was all the locals that were playing checkers, singing in choirs, singing karaoke, crocheting, playing Chinese hacky sack or for that matter, just hanging out with their family or neighbors. The grounds form a park where locals gather to celebrate life. We got a glimpse of “Sunday at the Temple” where folks just hang with their friends. One man was crooning Chinese Opera through a crackling old portable stereo, a choir of older Chinese men and women were belting out folk songs, toddlers waddled quickly with doting parents on the ready for the next tumble. It was fantastic.
We finished the day at the Panjiayuan flea market for a few hours, where antiques are sold, and where Carol picked up a couple of very unique old world (or just plain strange) artifacts from years gone by. We will go back to this place on this trip.