A Beijing Walk

Nicholas Quirke was looking forward on 31 October 2020 to another exploration of Beijing and uncovering in a leisurely walk , a temple, more of Shicahai and a Halloween bargain late lunch at Gung-ho Pizza. In total during the day they covered 15km on foot and on bike. starting with a stroll to Xidan where Peng tested the new Iphone12 and then onto Guangdong Temple. They passed a building he had seen many times on the corner of Fuchengmen and Xisi Street which, on foo he discovered had been built to celebrate the Empress Dowager Cixi’s 60th birthday in 1894 it also makes the spot where the Yuan Dynasty sewer was located. The peeling paint on the rotting facade seemed a fitting state for a building which honoured the harsh and spiteful Dowager. The temple, even though it had first been built in 1115 was fully operational and was now the headquarters of the Buddhist Association of China. There were many worshippers and his inquisitive camera seemed intrusive and once that had done a circuit of the shrines they walked along the street to a rooftop cafe, from where they could observe the white pagoda. After a pot of tea, which cost over 100 yuan (approx £11) they walked to Shichahai lake and the Lotus market where he could now see the full cycle of the lotus plants in the lake, from winter, to spring, in the summer and now autumn. With all restrictions now lifted they were able to explore and see the full delights of the beautiful old buildings surrounding the water. It was over 5km to the restaurant at Tai Koo Li but with a straight road all the way they cycled. At the time the journey seemed effortless but later in the evening his legs suffered. The late lunch at Gung-ho was tasty but they overate with pizza, sweet potatoe fries and guacamole and enjoyed a bargain Halloween special Hawthorn cocktail. Weary they took the subway back to the apartment where they played a round of ‘Game of Thrones’ Monopoly which, Nicholas enjoyed complained about as he was losing and to complete Halloween theme they enjoyed starting to watch The Posessor.

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