Praying to the Halls of Dispelling Clouds: 28 July 2006 (Friday)

I am now convinced Beijing is perpetually shrouded in a dismal mist. How do people live here? I’d have jumped off the Gates of Heavenly Peace a long time ago. Ugh. Yes, today was dismal, wet and clouded over. The plan for today was to go to the Summer Palace and brave as much public transport as possible. Our navigational skills didn’t suck too bad as we figured out our way to the site by noon. The dismal weather, however, leeched the enjoyment out of us and with it our will to continue through what must be a fabulous site in the sunshine. The Summer Palace was built during the Ming Dynasty and was a regular residence to the Dowager Empress as she presided over the collapse of the Empire. We wandered through extravagant palaces, gawked at gardens, but with the mist, we were simply done in. As the rain poured down and wet the Steps of Treacherous Falls (as Scott described them) we realized that the nearby Halls of Dispelling Clouds were no match for the Tower of Cloud Obscuring that stood opposite, at least not on this day.

What to do in such weather? We headed to a bar (“Lush”) in the nearby “Student District” supposedly run by a New Zealander. The bar was definitely quite welcoming and the menu quite inviting. I tried my Mandarin phrasebook again and asked for the nearest Internet Cafe. I was horrified to see the waitress burst into fits of shy laughter and run away. I wonder if I had asked her to strip or something. Nonetheless, I did find an Internet Cafe to do what we had promised – relay the news about Robin’s party (I had talked to him last night) which was to be tonight, to the Irish girls, Jenny and Nessa.

So our plan for the evening is to meet at the Drum and Bell Pub again then hightail it to the Kai Club in the San Li Tun bar district and finally find the bar Inner Affair for Robin’s party. We might even finish at Lush to round it all out!

What hijinks await us?


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