Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Yu Garden Outing

Today we went to the Yu Garden (see picture). It was situated within a maze of huge, pagoda-like buildings full of merchants, something labeled the Dragon Mall, and Rachel said it reminded her of a place in Beijing (see picture). The outside was overcrowded with tourists, but once inside the garden was surprising silence and peace. We walked along the bridges and peeked into the many stone nooks and tiny museums, all running alongside ponds filled with multicolored coy fish. Here we are with our parasol, what everyone around here uses instead of sunscreen. I think it's brilliant, and an untapped accessory in the U.S.

Let's backtrack. Before we reached the Yu Garden, group of four students from Beijing—two girls and two guys—approached us outside the metro stop and invited us to join them for a tea ceremony. We tasted the finest ginseng tea, jasmine tea, and sweet fruit tea, and learned a little about the history of tea (see picture).
The experience was interesting, and both Rachel and I enjoy tea, but overall we felt it was rushed, and the exorbitant price of 150 rmb qualified it as a tourist trap. We were bummed because we continue to spend more money than we plan every time we go out lately. Part of that is going where the wind takes us, often with a very loose agenda and only a neighborhood in mind, but all the same we need our money to stretch until we receive our next stipend installment.

In other news, Brandon is coming!!!! I am so excited to see him. Now each time Rachel and I go somewhere new I’m thinking, would Brandon like to come here? Last night we walked by a small park with glittering water and wildflowers galore, and all I could think was how it emanated romance. Something in my throat jumped a little and I felt again a surge of excitement at the thought of seeing him. It’s been 29 days. He will arrive on day 43.

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