Friday, January 18, 2013

Beihei Park

Beihei Park is just to the northeast of the Forbidden City.  Most of the park is taken up by North Lake; frozen over this time of year, of course. Different sections of the lake were marked off for ice-skating and ice-sledding; I watched the skaters for a while, but my real goal was the island in the middle of the lake.  

The island is a tall hill, nearly as tall as the one in Jinshang Park next door; it also has great views over the city.  Jinshang Park is more famous for its views, as it looks directly over the Forbidden City, while Beihei gives you the view from the corner.  My pictures were actually better from Beihei, though that was mostly because I was there later in the day and the light was better.  

Anyhow, on the top of the hill on the island in the park, there is a huge white stupa, a type of Tibetan temple.  I'm not sure how to describe the shape, but you can see for yourself in the picture.  The contrast of the bright white made the sky look a deeper blue than I'd seen for a while; it reminded me of the white and blue of Greece.  

After I left the park, I headed back to the neighborhood I've been staying in, and munched on nachos at Helen's (restaurant) until Kelley arrived; she had just returned that morning from Harbin, where several of my friends  had gone to see the ice festival.  As we ate, she told me about their stay there--Beijing, in the 30s, seemed warm to her now, as it was -22 when she left Harbin.  She said that their eyelashes would get icy, and their cameras would freeze up and stop working.  I later saw pictures of some of the guys with beards--their beards were coated in ice.  So I guess I won't complain too much about being cold...

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