Summer Palace Ramblings

After sleeping in I went to the north west part of Beijing to catch a bus to the Summer Palace. I was expecting a bus terminal but it was just like a normal town with bus stops along the streets. I had to walk a little ways to find the bus stops, but couldn't find the number (375) that I wanted. I used my fluent Mandarin to say hello and point at the number 375 and the Chinese for Summer Palace and got directions to the other side of the street. I hopped on the bus and pointed in my book to the Summer Palace and the fare lady nodded her head. I paid my 1.5 yuan and sat down for the ride. I didn't end up getting to the Summer Palace until 12:30 and it closed at 5. I was a bit worried that I wouldn't see everything I wanted to in such a short time (everyone says you need a full day.) But it got to be pretty cold and windy so I didn't think I'd be itching to sit around and do people watching. I was still a bit bummed from leaving my jacket in Hong Kong - who woulda known that it was super cold and windy? Everyone else had on nice North Face parkas and wool jackets. :( I walked around and looked at the various halls and walkways. It was nice to not hear the city (until you get to the top of the hill.) I can see why royalty hung out here, it has a beautiful lake and neat looking palaces. They have a bunch of large stones or rocks that have much significance. They look like large pieces of coral and seem really alien to the place. There was a long walkway called the Long Corridor. It is a half mile long covered walkway with rotundus every 200 feet or so. Every 15 feet is a support beam that is painted with a scene from a lake or a mountain. It was pretty neat looking. As I was super cold I decided to leave and wait in the wind for the bus to go back to town. Not sure why I didn't take a taxi. But I vowed to get a jacket before going to the Great Wall. After finding out that you had to wave down the bus, I rode back into town to find the underground. I found out that there are multiple metro lines in Beijing, and I almost took one that went waaay to the North. I went across the street to the one I really needed. I got out at my first hotel and walked to the same restaurant I went to on Tuesday night. I got a different pork dish and a plate of dumplings again. I took a picture of it this time because it was so much food. I didn't even finish it all. To work off a bit of the dinner, I walked back to Tianemmen Square to find myself a jacket. I saw a store that was selling a North Face jacket, but I knew it'd be fake and I already have a rain coat - in Hong Kong. I went into a jacket store and tried on a few black coats. I thought they'd be pretty spendy, but the lady entered 190 yuan on a calculator. Which was like $25. Not too bad. I tried on a few different jackets until I found one that fit ok. She entered 185 on the calculator and I used my master bargaining skills and got it for 180. Woo hoo! Whatever, it's warm and I was super cold. I don't know if it'll last many years or anything, but it looks pretty good and has two layers. I'm getting a different hostel tomorrow (hopefully) and heading out to one of the Great Walls for the afternoon. And then I'm planning on getting a massage and going to see the Chinese acrobats perform.