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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Day Nine - Summer Palace & Pearls...

It seems that I just don't have my head around the scale of things (or we just do things a little differently in North America...) What would you consider a summer retreat? Go buy/build a nice house/cabin on a lake somewhere where you can spend lazy days and cool nights? Yeah... That is what I was thinking too... How about 2.9 million square meters (nope... no typo) of summer retreat?? No lake to suite your needs? Make one... right in the middle,,, The Emperor's Summer Palace - and all it has to offer... Stunning if I had to drop one word. Big lake shaped like a peach (hey.. if you are making it - shape it like something meaningful - longevity I think) and build whatever else you need around the place - Water tower, temple, residence, boardwalk, bridges... You know, the basics... :)

We toured around the Summer Palace grounds (a big park would be probably more accurate) and took in the sights... I apparently have to start thinking bigger in some of my projects and see where that goes... :) Nothing quite on this scale I think though... Don't have the real estate... At any rate - we made our way around a section of the lake and back - The Long Painted Walkway is quite a work of art... Think the Sistine Chapel (you know - painted roof) and make it like a kilometre long... Good gig if you were getting paid by the hour - not so good if you were getting paid by the metre... :) After we finished up at the Palace, we headed to a Pearl Factory.

Pearls are quite the deal here, with MANY sizes, colours, shapes and grades to choose from. Got the obligatory lesson in pearls and what to look for, and Joyanne got to pick an oyster to open (well, have THEM open) to see what the deal was. Pretty interesting stuff... And then right on to the tour shop - I knew there was a catch... :) After Pearl Factory we stopped for a nice Chinese lunch and headed out for the Birds Nest and the Water Cube. These were some of the facilities that were constructed for the 2008 Olympic Games and are very popular attractions. The Birds Nest is the stadium that all of the ceremonies and events were held in - and the Water Cube is well, you guessed it - a big blue cube that had all of the swimming/diving events (which they were not all that pleased about Michael Phelps schooling them by the way...) Both were impressive to see, but just probably not as exciting as it was in 2008... Any of the footage I have seen around is quite spectacular when these buildings were lit up.

The later the day went on, the hotter it was getting, so we opted to head back to the hotel to enjoy some A/C... Now Joyanne had mentioned to Jennifer that she was interested in the Louis Vuitton bags and where we might be able to "find some good ones..." (wink wink)... So we thought we might get some direction as to which markets to hit for those and some good good Folexes... (Me and my watches...) "You like LV bags?..." "Yup..." "Let me call a businessman and he will meet us at your hotel..." Huh...?? Oh yes, THAT easy... :) Sorry Dale - I'm still heading into the streets to "Wanna buy a watch?" but this was pretty funny... Buddy showed up with a big suitcase full of LV and Coach bags and some darn nice knock-offs of Tags, Rolexs, Bulgaris... You name it :)

Sylvie (no we haven't forgotten about her) faired pretty well considering how hot it was getting outside over the course of the day. She loves rolling around in the stroller (probably because it is cooler than the Ergo) but LOVES getting set free to walk around after a while. We did a couple of laps with here in the restaurant at lunch and she quite enjoyed herself. She was done (as was MaMa) by the time we finished on the Olympic grounds (as the pictures show)... She has also taken to walking US around the hotel room... She will grab a finger and lead you into walking (or running... Well, mostly running...) while holding her hands and she just giggles and giggles... The faster you go, the more she laughs... It is infectious... :) I put a lot of miles on with her going end to end in the room and she couldn't get enough. She didn't get much of a nap today, so early to bed she went - Big day tomorrow - The International Clinic and the Embassy... :) I have heard that dealing with the Embassy can be quite the tedious process, so we may be in for a long day... Got all of our paperwork we need done and have all of the Official documents in hand, so tune in tomorrow and we will let you know how it goes...

Until then...

C & J & S


  1. Good luck today hopefully this is one of the last challenges to deal with!!!! We are loving the daily updates. I hope you bought a few extra purses!

    Tara and Dale

  2. Okay, *I* need a nap after ready that! LOL. Good luck with the Embassy and International Clinic... hopefully it will be smooth sailing and then you'll be home soon!