Staying home from work today recovering from some food poisoning that kept me up most of the night. I'm weak, but I should be close to 100% tomorrow. In the meanwhile, I'm laying on the couch and watching more World Cup soccer than I have ever watched before.
I spent Saturday afternoon at the Beijing Botanical Garden with Angela, about 40 minutes by bus from our apartment. Aside from the lush beauty and vast size of the park, there were a couple other sites within the park which we wanted to catch: The Reclining Buddha and The former residence of Cao Xueqin who wrote A Dream of Red Mansions, a quite lengthy Chinese novel which I had recently finished reading after struggling with the multi-volume set for months. Despite the length, I highly recommend this book if you're looking for something out-of-the-ordinary to read from the Eastern canon.
The weather was splendid and clear and we couldn't have asked for a better day for a stroll. The park was wonderfully clean, green and not overly crowded, especially for a Saturday with optimal conditions. We walked from one end of the park to the other, stopping in the center to visit the Reclining Buddha Temple, although it was unimpressive. We had just expected something larger.
We were looking for a better vantage point to admire the view, but most of the routes to the top of a small hill in the center of the park were barred with large white "No Admittance" signs written in both Chinese and English. We finally found one hidden path and made our way to a small pavilion at the top. On our way down the hill, the sky darkened and a brief downpour started. We sought refuge under a tree and waited for the rain to subside, admiring the nice rainbows which had appeared. We ended our adventure by walking to the exit through the large rose garden. There were many other impressive sights within the park and you can look at additional pictures in the usual place. I think this has become my new favorite place in Beijing. What a wonderful day!