Sunday, June 16, 2013

Yuanmingyuan - Old Summer Palace

Ruins at Yuanmingyuan or the Old Summer Palace in Beijing

I am way behind on posting pictures. I have several sets from our trip to the U.S. in May yet to go but thought I'd post this pictures first.

Last Wednesday was Duanwu Jie or Dragon Boat Festival holiday in China. Margot and I visited Yuanmingyuan or the Old Summer Palace.

The Old Summer Palace dates back to the early 1700's. It was a series of gardens and palaces and used architecture styles of both China and Europe.

The place was destroyed in 1860 by Anglo-French forces during the 2nd Opium War.

There were a lot of people there but it is a big place so it didn't seem so crowded.

I'm pretty sure my picture of this young woman is nicer than her friend's picture.

We took a boat ride from the front of the palace to the back on a boat like this. There are a number of lakes, large and small, through out the grounds.

The bridges are pretty but can be pretty steep when walking over them.

Boat on lake at Yuanmingyuan or Old Summer Palace in Beijing

There were several boating options. This one is strictly paddle power.

This little pavilion is in the center of a maze. It is a lot easier to find your way in when there is a steady stream of people leaving the pavilion.

Chou mei girl at Yuanmingyuan or Old Summer Palace

It isn't that uncommon to see tourists dressed in a similar manner. I showed this to a colleague at work an her reaction was chòu měi. It means showing off shamelessly. I don't think those shoes are very practical for walking around the ruins.

Click to enlarge.

Notice all the umbrellas.

The maze isn't a gimme. Some people decided climbing up onto the wall and walking along it was more efficient.

You can get up close and personal with the ruins.

This fountain was the location of the twelve bronze zodiac animal heads looted in 1860. This was actually a water clock with each head spotting in sequence to note the time. Two of the heads were recently returned. Animal heads

More ruins.

Here are replicas of the bronze heads.

Here is the current status: Zodiac Heads
Black swan at Yuanmingyuan or Old Summer Palace in Beijing

There were a pair of black swans nesting on one of the lakes.

I was amazed at how flexible their necks are.

This a Blue or Azure Magpie.

This is a Morning Glory, I think. Known as qianniuhua in Chinese.

As we were leaving we noticed this crowd looking at something. In a sure sign of our integration into Chinese culture we joined the curious mob.

Anything of interest will draw a crowd - from a traffic accident to a heated argument between husband and wife in the shopping mall.

Turns out they were looking at this fish.  No idea what it was but it wasn't going to fit in that guys little net.

As we were watching, this big ball of hundreds of baby fish came out of the grass. Not sure if it is mother and children or what. I didn't see any being eaten by the larger fish.

1 comment:

  1. The fish in the last two pics is called a "snakehead," one of the nastiest invasive predators that have been imported to North American waters by unthinking fish hobbyists. These fishes can grow to over three feet, and generally occupies the top of the food chain, usually eating all other competitors out of existence. Oh, and they're common to Asian waters where they're generally taken as a food source; seeing them in China is not unusual