Despite getting to bed late because of the problems finding rooms, we didn’t sleep long. Lene was
feeling bad and had a high temperature. Yanmei was tired and didn't want to eat
breakfast, so Steven and Daji went for breakfast whilst Lene
slept, hoping to get better. Finally the hotel found us a room, and by the time we’d
changed rooms, it was past lunch time and Lene still wasn’t feeling any
Steven went out in the summer weather with Yanmei and Daji. It was snowing
poplar seeds carried in the slight breeze. We were all
feeling a bit tired and Yanmei and Daji eat at McDonalds. We headed towards Behai
Park, Yanmei and Daji posing in front of the monument celebrating the "May 4th
Movement", a political movement growing out of student demonstrations in Beijing
on May 4th 1919, demonstrating against the Chinese governments weak response to
the Versailles Treaty where German concessions in Shandong were given to Japan.
The movement eventually resulted in Shandong being returned to the Chinese.
We only got halfway to Behai Park, stopping instead at Jingshan Park across from the Forbidden City.
Apart from a fantastic view over the Forbidden City from Coal Hill, the park has
little to offer as a tourist attraction - which is probably why you don't see
many tourists in the park. However spring had come to Beijing and many plants and trees had sprung out and
were generating a lot of interest amongst the many visitors to the park – Chinese
love to pose in front of colourful plants and trees, people stood in queues to
have their picture taken in front of the colourful plant and trees.
The biggest attraction by far are the many activities taking place in
the park on a Sunday afternoon. Several choirs, many with over 100 participants were singing
traditional and newer Chinese songs, orchestras played jazz and swing, a couple
of hundred people were standard dancing to music coming from a set of older
speakers. Next to the dancers another large group were doing Tai Chi,
playing badminton, gathered in circles keeping a feather ball up in the air,
dancing with long streamers, playing cards, singing opera and much, much more.
For each activity just as many other people stood and watched and listened –
some joining in, singing along or just applauding when appropriate. It was a
tremendous atmosphere, the few foreigners in the park just lapping it up.
Walking back towards the hotel we were stopped by a group of Chinese who wanted
their pictures taken and pictures with us. It is almost a daily occurrence that
we are stopped – some girls wanting pictures with Lene (the distinguished lady
with grey hair) or pictures of us as a family – 2 westerners and 2 Chinese
We went through some of Hutongs on the way back to the hotel – getting slightly
lost on the way. Back at the hotel, Lene wasn’t feeling any better, so Steven went to the
supermarket to buy some food, whilst Lene, Yanmei and Daji saw a film on HBO.
We were in bed fairly early, but the night was rough, not least for Daji who
vomited during the night – luckily in the bathroom and not in the bed, unluckily
in the hand basin which clogged up and not in the toilet.