This morning it was off to the Summer Palace, a beautiful park around a lake I wished we had more time to explore at leisure. As it was, we stayed mostly in the high tourist areas with guides wearing portable loudspeaker systems to talk to their groups—multiple guides all talking at once. At high volume. Nerve racking. They were mostly Chinese tourists exploring their own heritage. Out-of-towners come to the capital. I noticed a group of older women doing exercises together. Later we heard singing, and I asked John about it. “Retirees,” he said, “singing songs of their youth. Maoist songs. Mao ruined their dreams. I don’t know why they like that music.” I figure like old people everywhere, the bad times from their youth have faded and what remains is memories of Mama and good times with the other children and none of the current problems they struggle with, and there is nothing like music to bring back those memories.
This pagoda was on the hill above the palace. A longer visit would have allowed time to climb up. Surely not all the tourists (with their noisy guides) go there.
We came back across the lake on one of these dragon boats.
A place to return to.