(Un)comfortably numb.A few days ago, we took my parents to see the Summer Palace, an event which only served to confirm my belief that the Summer Palace is, in fact, a place best visited during the summer as opposed to, say, the dead of winter, when the temperature drops down into the two syllables. Yes, that's right--it was kuh-cold there. Turns out, when it's in the low mid-twenties and the wind is blowing at a steady ten miles-per-hour across a frozen lake and right through you and your fancy but useless REI silk thermal underwear, it's really freaking cold. Hard to believe, I know. But just in case you don't, I submit the photographic evidence below and ask you, do I--or at least my eyes--look warm?
Frostbite Can Be Fun!
On a side note, it's funny how the Celsius scale makes everything seem so much colder. For example, tonight the low here is supposed to be -8 degrees C. Turns out, that's a balmy 16 degrees using the old, reliable Fahrenheit system. Not that 16 degrees is warm, but -8 sounds worse, doesn't it? Of course, when I'm walking back from dinner tonight, I'm sure I'll think 16 degrees with a pleasant, particulate-filled wind blowing in my face is plenty cold. Just a guess.
Pictures Because I know you have all just come back from a long weekend--Happy New Year, by the way--I figure you have nothing to do than look at pictures of all the places I've been in the last few weeks. (I'm not wrong, am I?) Yes, while you were all pretending to have fun at your office holiday party; eating "just one more" cookie because it was Christmas and, somehow, the calories would magically disappear at 12:01 AM on December 26 (let me know how that worked out, by the way); acting like a nice pair of wool socks was really what you wanted more than anything else for your gift; and nestling down in your nice, warm beds with visions of sugarplums or whatever it was that you really wanted for a gift dancing through your collective heads, I--your intrepid reporter--was out braving the cold, the wind, the snow, and the snot-blackening pollution I have mentioned before to take these pictures for you. Consider them a special holiday gift, from me to you. That is what you wanted, right?
Great Wall! Did Robin ever say "Great Wall, Batman!" on the Batman TV show? If not, he should have. Either way, I went to the Great Wall again, this time to the Badaling section. Because really, one picture of a big, never-ending stone wall is just not enough. Happily, it was just as warm there as at it was at the Summer Palace--sure, there wasn't any frozen lake, but it made up for that by being up in the mountains. How considerate.
Lama Temple. On the one day here that it actually snowed, I thought to myself, "Hey, why not go visit the biggest Buddhist monastery in Beijing and see how cold I can get. Oh, and maybe also see if I can take even more pictures of lions and slash or dragons, because I haven't taken enough already?" As it turns out, I was not only able to get incredibly cold (my toes took hours to defrost), but also take pictures of all sorts animals, not just lions and dragons--there were turtles, too! To the best of my knowledge, hey weren't of the mutant or ninja variety--although they may have possibly known some House of Flying Daggers-style kung-fu--but I'll take what I can get.
Summer (Not Winter) Palace. Obviously I went to the Summer Palace again. So I thought I'd put up a few pictures, this time of the Summer Palace in the snow, just to show you the one thing more useless than a large marble boat: a large marble boat in a frozen lake. I mean, seriously, that's pretty useless.
Temple of Heaven. Because I haven't seen enough temples here yet, I thought maybe I should go see--and take pictures of!--the biggest temple "complex" in Beijing, the Temple of Heaven. Although as far as I can tell, despite the fact there were at least three large temples there--as well as a big old circular altar for good measure--not one of them was actually called the Temple of Heaven. Confusing.
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