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Making a Trail

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

So, maybe I lied. There was one place in Beijing proper that was beautiful, and Mike and I enjoyed visiting. If you are foolish enough to visit Beijing in the next 5-10 years (despite our warnings against it, but before the pollution swallows up all living things, I recommend seeing the Great Wall and The Summer Palace.

The Summer Palace was a retreat built by the Dowager Empress to have as a vacation spot. She was also know as the “Dragon Lady,” I think both for how powerful she became (she was the power behind the throne, telling her little boy what to do) and because it seems like people didn’t like her for some reason (She embezzled money from the Navy funds to make this palace AND she gave Hong Kong away to the UK after China lost the first Opium war.) Mao used to live here for part of the year, too. NBD.
Despite all that history stuff, this place is impressive due to its natural beauty and size (includes a large hill, venice-like canals, a marble boat and a lake with multiple islands.
But the BEST part of our tour was our guide. We hired this random, tiny Chinese lady named Jenny to tell us about the sites and the history behind it. Despite her broken English, she was amazing, mainly because she was like a little honey badger. This 90-pound woman would plow through the droves of tourists, and Mike and I would have to run to catch up. When we wanted to take a picture, she would pushily ask people to get out of the way, or just glare at them. Fantastic. Thus, we have some great pics of the two of us, and of Jenny. 🙂