Friday, May 23, 2008

The Meeting of the Bears!

This is a picture of cute Kara and dad at The Summer Palace. The Summer Palace is another must see when in Beijing. The cold and calculating Empress Dowager Cixi rebuilt this palace in the 1800's and used it during the summer months to escape the humidity in Beijing. Note the first photo of her on the above link. Twenty five years ago we walked into the room where this painting hangs and I have never forgotten it! (Today, you cannot go into any of the rooms!) Her fingernails were deliberately cultivated to that length, as it was a symbol of high status. In fact, she even had gold fingernail covers crafted to keep them protected! She also employed 128 chefs to prepare approximately 150 dishes for every meal. Some of the dishes were for smelling, some for looking at and some for tasting. It is said that she would only take just a few bites from several dishes and then have the food taken away. Now I know there is a sermon in that story!

This picture is of the famous Marble Boat. (thats right...Marble!) She had diverted the monies earmarked for the Imperial Navy to renovate the Summer Palace and build this boat. The upper level was a tea house...of course she didn't have to worry about spilled tea in a boat that 'stands it's ground' so to speak!

This is The Long Promenade Of Thousand Steps Corridor! It is spectacular! It showcases over 8000 paintings on the beams and side panels. Check out this closeup...

This must have been a sight to behold--watching the artists create these paintings.

When we first arrived at the palace, there was a man holding two large calligraphy brushes--one in each hand. With water as his ink, he would simultaneously draw the Chinese characters! It was fascinating to watch and he was delightful to chat with....

Would you like to see some of his work close up?

Now remember, each brush is creating its own masterpiece in concert with the other hand!

After we were through with the Summer Palace, Dad asked Kara if there was anything that she wanted to see. Her response? "Well, I have always wanted to see the panda bears!" Dad said that he would love to take his Bear to see China's famous bears. So we paid the admission price to the Beijing Zoo just so Kara could see her bears! What fathers won't do to make their little girls happy!

However, before you can witness the meeting of the Bears...please observe the following...

Together at last!

Now a funny thing happened on the way to the bears...apparently we were going to pass by the Olympiad Park. Our guide asked us if we would like to stop and see it. With our resounding Yes!--he tells the driver to take us to the park. As we are driving along on the freeway, we could see the famous Birds Nest Stadium off to the side. The driver pulls off on a side road and stops. To our complete amazement, we, along with other tourists climb up an embankment and walk on the shoulder of the freeway taking pictures of the famous structure! In a country where their is a multitude of police everywhere you go, there was not one to be found on the freeway to keep us from being a potential traffic hazard!

The cars were whizzing by at freeway speeds!

Last, but not least, I want to share with you a cultural gem that resonated with me...In every village, or palace structure that we saw in China, the doorways always have a riser built across the threshold, causing the person to have to step up and over to get into the room. I asked my Chinese friend, Athena, why this was so and why were some threshold risers taller than others. She said that this was done to give the person entering the room an opportunity to be reminded of the respect that was to be shown to the occupants of the house. The taller the riser, the greater respect. Wouldn't it be wonderful, if when entering homes or places of worship, that as we step over the thresholds we figuratively step up, giving us pause to think about whose house we are entering--and then act accordingly!


  1. There is so much to learn around the world. I love the history of the threshold. What an amazing experience!- Hugs to you, Jill

  2. Okay, this (and the other entries) makes me feel kind of silly that I have a passport that's never been stamped (never mind the fact that I JUST got said passport).
    LOVE that you are experiencing all of this and that I get to pretend I've experienced it with you.

  3. OK, that sign is fantastic! You just know some English-speaking jokester off somewhere still chuckling his head off. :)

    Oh, and I love your pun-titled post! Like mother, like daughter.

  4. oh that bear is so cute...and the panda isn't bad either!

  5. I love that Dad took Kara to see the pandas. So very cute.

  6. Ummm, I'm leaving you a SECOND comment because you need to update again. I need more of The Nana Diary — stat!

    Love you. Miss you.

  7. Don't make me comment a THIRD time in order to get you to post again!

    Oh, wait ....