Saturday, May 5, 2012

Temple of Heaven

As our time in Beijing comes to a close, we are trying to at least see all the traditional sites near us. We took advantage of a BLUE SKY! Saturday and spent the morning exploring the Temple of Heaven and its surrounding park with our friends Julij and Prism. 
Kaleia, Prism, and Magnolia
More to follow the break...

It was a postcard kind of day; good for the soul and the lungs!

The only place we experienced the crowd was trying to see into the temple. For me, once you've seen one temple you've pretty much seen them all. So after a quick peak in, and hearing someone attempt to unzip my purse, we decided to move on to the more pleasant park.

The park was peaceful, refreshing and full of culture. So many people gathered together to enjoy their   leisure activity of choice. We wondered regularly if people just showed up or if there was someone organizing it all, and definitely felt like what we saw was a cool part of Chinese culture.

These women are exercising/dancing with something like a pingpong paddle keeping a ball balanced on it as they swing it around. (This picture is one of Maggie's)

One of our first cultural encounters was the Harmonica "group." It is a little hard to classify because while there was a central group being conducted, it seemed like most of the audience was participating with their own harmonicas too.  Here is some video footage:

We weren't quite sure about this "performance." The flamboyant dancers, girl dressed up like a princess, huge posters of people and various operatic singers made for a confusing scene. In the end, we think it might have been a form of karaoke with people dancing along. 
We also happened upon a huge "choir." Here there were rings and rings of people with songbooks. As we wondered if singing talent or confidence determined the distance people were standing from the conductor, slowly like the wave at a stadium event, the choir stopped. Realizing that the halted singers corresponded to the path three little white girls were weaving through the crowd, we decided snatch the culprits and move on. Here is a little peak at the music:

These two had a blast playing together.

Kaleia had a blast most of the time. But due to her briefly renewed habit of running away... 

She also had several "time-outs" in my arms. 

She wasn't the only "wild" animal in the park. I'm not sure why these crack me up since we take our dogs to the park. I guess I never imagined taking your birds to the park for some "fresh" air. 

These two shots of our friends were taken by Maggie. 
Thanks for the fun morning Prism and Julij! 

If you want to read a more well written account of the day and see some better photographs, check out Julij's blog

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