For someone who normally sleeps until noon and has approximately 1.5 meals a day, being on a normal, human schedule felt kind of weird. On our second day in China, we woke up at 6 AM and went down to grab a complementary breakfast, then got ready for a long day of touring beautiful Beijing.
Our day started with a tour of a Chinese middle school/high school. Although it was Saturday, some of the students were present for their weekend extracurriculars, and we were lucky enough to have a little show put on for us by the Peking Opera group.
The school itself had some seriously beautiful architecture and design, which made me jealous! [My own school is mostly sad potted plants and some short, ugly buildings.]
After touring the school, we went to the Summer Palace [颐和园] and had a walking tour. The beautifully lavish area contains a partially manmade lake and hill, known as Kunming Lake [昆明湖] and Longetivity Hill [万寿山] and served as a summer retreat for emperors and empresses. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
After a quick boat ride across Kunming Lake and some more walking around, we regrouped and left to grab some lunch. My friends and I got the chance to try a dumpling fast food chain, which turned out to be delicious!
Since the food court was right next to Tiananmen Square, our next destination, we just walked over together. Traffic in China is notoriously unpredictable, so if you’re ever a pedestrian in a major urban area in China, keep an eye out!
I have so many thoughts and pictures of both Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City that I’ll have to make separate posts about them later, so for now, I’ll just have to touch briefly on my time in both of those places.
After being given some time to look around, we were ushered to our next stop: the Forbidden City [紫禁城]. The architecture here is simply amazing; everything is so grand and eye-catching. I took so many dorky pictures of myself and my friends that I don’t even know what to do with them, so I’ll just leave you with this:
For dinner, we went to a restaurant for a special treat: a Peking duck dinner! I really love duck, and it was my friend’s first time trying it, so we were super excited. The duck was amazing, and we left with full bellies and happy hearts.
Before going off to bed, we took up one of our teacher chaperones on an offer to walk around in the area surrounding the hotel as a small group. While seeing the big tourist attractions is always awe-inspiring, my favourite thing to do in a new city is just walk around, and we had a great time. Beijing at night is quite active and interesting, and I even got the chance to buy some egg tarts from an 85C bakery! [There are a few in California, and a bunch of my friends are obsessed.]
After our short walk, we headed back to the hotel to catch a good night’s rest. It was such a jam-packed day that I almost immediately passed out, and we only had more things to look forward to in the morning!
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