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Rice paddy terraces

An Imperial Palace


We were in Beijing for a couple of days and spent a considerable amount of time at the Summer Palace; this home of many emperors struck me in its opulence and detachment from the people. So much so that the emperor built a street down the center and filled it with peddlers so that he could walk through and experience a “real Chinese city.” The lake in the center bloomed with lotus and was simultaneously choked with smog. We also visited the marble boat the last empress commissioned because “a boat that can’t sink would represent a China that can’t sink either.” Only, a boat built out of marble can’t sail in the first place… In an ironic twist of fate, the people overthrew her because she spent too much and they were starving. On the bright side, it’s left us with pretty palaces and useless boats to admire. In other news: the yogurt is delicious, a street vendor drew Theo on a plate, and then he wrote funny quotes on Liv and Ron’s arms. Oh, and Joe fell asleep in yet another park.