Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Park yourself in a park!

It was a nice sunny spring day yesterday, so I climbed on my motor scooter and headed for Columbia Park for a photo shoot. As far as I'm concerned Columbia Park is THE park in the Tri-Cities, where we live.

It's right on the banks of the Columbia River, which was as smooth as glass yesterday, even with the little ripples made by mother geese teaching their new goslings to swim. What was interesting about this is Mom led the flock, with another adult goose or two bringing up the rear, making sure none of the little ones got lost.

All this reminded me how much I love Beijing's parks. Beijing has a lot of them, ranging in size from vest pocket, like across from the Gulou subway station on Second Ring Road, to huge, like Beihai Park and the Summer Palace. They are my favorite parks in Beijing, and still are. I try to visit them each time I return to Beijing. I especially like the parks in the spring, when the trees are greening up and blossoming out. I also just like to sit on a bench and watch life go by. One night a small mouse scampered across my feet at Beihai Park -- that I did not enjoy; maybe he was frightened by the fireworks we'd come to watch. Beihai's White Dagoba Temple is pictured above.

Another park that I liked a lot was Tuanjiehu, a small park filled with ponds and bridges, and, at 6 a.m., people dancing, on Third Ring Road between Lufthansa and World Trade centers. I only went there once, but YuYuanTan Park was stunning -- and huge. It is so big, they allowed people to ride their bikes through it. Once, at Purple Bamboo Park, a friend and I came across a fashion show which was unique in that the clothes being modeled were all made of bamboo. I don't imagine sitting down would have been very comfortable.

The smaller ponds at the parks were filled with gold fish, as most park ponds in China. I found it interesting that children would be sitting on the bank or bench, fishing poles in hand, trying to catch a gold fish. I often wondered if this was a catch-and-release exercise or if they took the fish home.

For more information about travel in China, please visit my website.

Until next time, zai jian!

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