August 19


This morning we went to visit the Summer Palace, a historical site built
some 250 years ago as an imperial garden and leisure hideaway for the
emperor and the family. The place is located at the Kunming Lake, and is
filled with magnificently traditional Chinese architecture. It was quite a
long ride to the palace, and then we took at boat across the beautiful lake
and walked back. The view was spectacular and as we walked along the
waterfront, there was a cool breeze that refreshed everyone.
After we finished walking around the Summer Palace, we went into a pearl
market. Since this is a government owned market, we were assured that the
pearls were genuine. Some of us took the plunge and bought pearls. It was
fascinating to watch young girls helping to select pearls, and then tying
them off, one by one, so that they will never fall off, even if the string

After our wallets were emptied at the pearl market, Nelson (our guide)
treated us to Peking Duck luncheon. Normally this would have been a dinner,
but since the restaurant he chose was far from our hotel, we went by bus for
lunch instead. The meal was really large for lunch, so we were all stuffed
and happy by the time we got back.

Part of the group found themselves drawn to the shopping at Silk Alley again
for some marathon bargaining this afternoon. They came back with big bags
and smiles of satisfaction that only shopping can provide. As if that
wasn't enough, a group of us went to Wangfujing shopping district this
evening. We started our adventure by taking the Beijing subway. It was very
cheap (about $0.70cdn) and very clean. We were all impressed. Then we
spent the evening shopping and buying exotic foods from street vendors.

By the time we get home, if nothing else, our daughters will know how to
shop and how to bargain!!