Thursday, January 25, 2007

Beijing Day One - Tours of the Summer Palace and Lama Temple

Here are pictures of our day, along with captions. Here we go...

Our host Peter met us at the hotel this morning and we hopped into a cab and headed out to the Summer Palace. As it is winter, there were no gardens and the lake was frozen over, but it was beautiful nonetheless. And there were hardly any people there, which was very cool.

Here we are just inside the entrance. The building behind us was under construction, so it was wrapped in plastic.

We then headed over to the lake and looked at the tower we were about to climb:

(The upside down triangle just below the tower is a double set of stairs.)

On the way over to the tower, we saw a woman writing calligraphy on the slate tiles with a big brush and water.

Peter said she was writing a very famous old Chinese poem, I took his word for it. Here are Peter and I getting a close-up look at her work.

At the base of the tower was a building with a courtyard where the steps began. They circled the courtyard and brought us to the "triangle" set that I pointed out above.

The Tower of the Fragrance of Buddha:

We couldn't go to the top, so here's the view from just outside the courtyard that the temple sits in. Those buildings in the distance on the water's edge is where we took the picture of the tower from. (bad bad English - sorry, I'm tired)

We then headed to Yong He Gong - the Lama Temple. We weren't able to take any pictures inside the temple, but we did see a statue of Maitreya the future Buddha that was 60 feet high and carved from one giant piece of white sandalwood. Peter said it took 3 years just to deliver the wood from Tibet.

The skyway made us feel at home.

Here's a girl spinning a prayer wheel.

We have many many more pictures (161 total, plus movies!) that we just couldn't post to the web. I skipped all of the architecture at the Summer Palace - there's some great detail. (Jim - they have metal butterfly keys holding the stone bridges together.)We are thinking about putting all of our pictures on Flickr because the blog has been flaky. I've been working on this post for almost 2 hours and am ready to just chuck the laptop out the window. Flimflammin....aargh. Frustrated.

Anyway - 9:00 time for bed. Tomorrow we see Tianamen Square and the Forbidden City.

Original Comments from Post

Re: Beijing Day One - Tours of the Summer Palace and Lama Temple By Davin on 1/25/2007
With those cameras, you guys look like American tourists! Nice pics, guys - keep them coming. I bet you two lose a little weight on this trip. I wish I was there - well, with my own motel room. Looks like you two are having fun.

Re: Beijing Day One - Tours of the Summer Palace and Lama Temple By Mom-Joan on 1/25/2007
First let me say how thrilling it is to see you guys on the other side of the world just a bit after it happened! This is a new wrinkle in travel that most people of my generation would be jumping up and down about. It is wonderful! Almost like getting to go myself. Your pictures are, of course, good. That they actually came through is a miracle of sorts. What is the creature behind you in the first picture? Can't wait to see more. Love, Mom

Re: Beijing Day One - Tours of the Summer Palace and Lama Temple By Davin on 1/25/2007
I am glad to see that the Lama Tower is handicap accessible.

Could you post the picture of the 60 ft. Maitreya, the future Buddha? Is it in the shadows behind the kid spinning copper? Maybe that is something else...

Who is Peter in the pictures?
Bryan says- Peter is our guide in Beijing. Can't take photos in some buildings, so we couldn't take a picture of the 60 ft. Maitreya.
Mary says - that was the Fragrant Buddha tower. Good to know they have a fragrant Buddha over here too - I only thought there was the one in Oregon.
I believe the Buddha that you see behind the kid is one of three Buddhas for the past, present and future. I can't remember. The Maitreya Buddha is in the center of a 6 story building, you can only see her feet from outside.
Also - Peter is an employee of Children's Home. He took care of all of our accomodations here in Beijing and also bought our plane tickets from here to Hefei, in addition to being our tour guide. He's the Beijing end of the whole operation, it's a pretty cool job actually.

Re: Beijing Day One - Tours of the Summer Palace and Lama Temple By Mom - Lois thru Lori on 1/25/2007
Lori is printing out your blog so that I can keep informed. I am so glad that you are there and enjoying yourselves. Keep the info coming.

Re: Beijing Day One - Tours of the Summer Palace and Lama Temple By Lori Matt and the Girls on 1/25/2007
Thanks for the pictures and all the bad grammar. It is nice to know what you are up to half a world away. When we ask Meg where MayMay and BryNay are she tells us "go bye bye in truck - in airplane - go pick up baby Mao in China". Very cute. We miss you!!!

Re: Beijing Day One - Tours of the Summer Palace and Lama Temple By Beth on 1/27/2007
It looks so beautiful. I am so excited for you two. I can't wait to meet Maggie, have fun climbing the Great Wall of China.

hi maymay By Emily m on 1/27/2007
mary today is day 3 i cant wait to see maggie! me and my friends R so excited i told them and keep them updated!
love you, Emily

hi By on 1/28/2007
so I guess you surrvied the wall!!!!! Wemiss U so much cant wait to see maggie!
Love U Emily

OOPS By on 1/28/2007
I ment We miss not wemiss

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