Thursday, October 6, 2011
Back to Nature
A beautiful autumnal day in the midst of trees and lakes, just to the north-west of the city. First the Summer Palace (too many people in the north part so we jumped on a boat and ended up on the quieter east bank), then lunch near Fragrant Hills Park where Liz did well ordering in Chinese, and the rest of the afternoon in Beijing Botanical Gardens. Nice place, not too crowded, slightly dull conservatory, but with a beautiful temple, Wofo, founded in the 7th Century (although most of the buildngs are inevitably much later) and with an exquisite 14th Century reclining (actually dying) Buddha. One of the nicest temples I've seen in China. Also wandered in and out of the former residence of Cao Xueqin, who wrote Dream of the Red Chamber there, and which would become one of China's four great classic works. Will I ever get around to reading it?