We did what we were supposed to do and visited Tian’an men and the Forbidden City. It was 98 degrees in the sun. I won’t tell you about Tian’an men and the Forbidden City. You can look them up in wikipedia. Suffice to say that is was vey very hot, and there were many many tourists, along with plenty of water and ice cream vendors.
Lunch was at the student cafeteria in Tsinghua University. The university has just over 30,000 students and this cafeteria, one of many, seats 1,000. 10 yuan ($1.40 U.S.) bought lunch for three and some watermelon for desert.
Afternoon tea was at the Stone Boat Cafe, in Ritan Park a small park in the south east corner of Beijing’s core. It took us quite a long time to get there. None of the locals seemed to know that the park exists. When we found it, it was worth the trip.
As the afternoon lengthened, the park filled with mothers, baby strollers, older couples reading newspapers on benches with thermos flasks full of tea at their elbow, children and even a few runners. This is a park that is heavily used by locals.
The Stone Boat Cafe sits at the edge of a small, man-made pond in the middle of the park. A delightful small Chinese pavilion, it juts out into the water, and provides a peaceful moment in the center of the very loud city. I ordered ginger and date tea and we shared a basket of fries.
What a refreshing end to a brutal sight-seeing day. We slept on the ride home.