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The Panjiayuan Market was our first stop on Sunday. It's a huge flea market that sells every kind of knock-off fake Chinese antique or folk-craft you can think of. Rows for jade carvings, scrolls, bronze cast statues, textiles, and porcelain are most of the bigger areas. Huge, noisy, messy, and completely stifling in in the heat, it was deal-hunter's heaven. We pulled out our hand fans and dove in. Mike, a seasoned bargainer, was an invaluable asset. First rule of thumb for markets in Beijing: never pay more than half of what the vendor's asking.
Sidewalk parking lot.
A few of the permanent stalls set up along the side of the market proper.
The roof over the market-stalls gave some much-needed relief from the hot sun.
Minor face-off with the authorities, just after lunch. (I don't know WHAT my hair is doing. It looks like i painted it on or something.)
The Summer Palace was built by some enterprising Imperials who wanted a place to escape the heat of the city. After lunch, my parents and i headed up to do the same. A fifty-minute cab-ride later, we were heading through the gates to explore the peaceful gardens and the palace on the hill.
A bevy of somewhat unusual guardians watch over the first hall.
(Here's where we examine the difference between wide-angle and regular lenses.)
(And again. I couldn't decide which i liked best!)
The edges of the walkways were all set with designs and characters, shaped in the stones.
Around this pond is a Ming-style village on the palace grounds which functions as a giant gift-shop, of sorts. The stalls were mainly closed by the time we got there, so we didn't go down to explore at close range.
These are my favorite of all the guardian statues we saw, anywhere.
Look at that grin!
The approach to the palace itself.
My mum in a moon gate. That's renovation going on behind her. Because Beijing will have the 2008 olympic games, they're working on renovating just about everything in the city. Every site we went to had one or a few of its buildings covered in scaffolding. Lucky for us, they do it a bit at a time, so we still had a lot to see.
My favorite photo of the day. The lace-bark pines were chosen for most of the landscaping in the Imperial palaces, because their graceful shapes and pinkish tones were thought to blend most harmoniously with the colors and styles of the architecture.
On behalf of the Navy, from whom she embezzled her funding, the Qing empress who rebuilt and restored the palace in the 1800s built this fantastic and hideous marble boat sculpture in the lake.
These double-paned windows look in on a corridor along a closed courtyard, and out on a lily-filled corner of the lake. Each window is painted with a motif once on its inside pane, and once on the outside.
Our circuit completed, we again saw the first hall, silent and alone at closing time.