Today we visited the Summer Palace, the Olympic Birds Nest and Water Cube, a large market, and watched a Kung-Fu show.
The Summer Palace was shocking because there were way more people here than I've ever really seen grouped in one place. How many? Well, the park estimated that they would have 4400 guests in the area by the end of the day. The most remarkable thing about the summer palace was the group singing that is done. In one of the areas, people group up to sing, and it feels very welcoming and very powerful to be in the middle of it. The Majority of our group was pulled into it to play percussion instruments and to get photos. It is also remarkable to me how many merchants there are at the tourist areas. At the summer Palace there were many merchants walking around shouting "Liang Quai! Liang Quai!" which is telling people that they are offering their wares for two Yuan. It's amazing how much work these people do to get their money.
The Olympic stadiums (Birds Nest and Water Cube) were amazing for their unique architecture and size. The Water Cube even has a water park inside of it. We had to wait for our bus after visiting the stadiums. During this time we convinced our group member, Paul Gearring, to sing for us. It was pretty great, we even gave him a hat and some tips, props to you Paul.
The market was pretty crazy. It was basically a department store just packed full of different merchants. Think of the Mall of America, but maybe twice as densely packed. (It's not as big as the MoA, but think of the spacing between stores and the stuff they stock). The merchants were pretty aggressive in trying to get your attention; some would even go out of their way to try to pull you over to their stand.
The Kung Fu show was pretty cool. I think that a Shaolin Monk's body is the epitome of Physical Fitness. They are capable of breaking metal on their bodies, and even balancing in the tips of swords, spears, and nails.
After the Kung Fu show, a few of us went to get a massage. It was pretty great, but I'll leave it to the other members of my group who went to describe it.
Here are a few highlight pictures of the day:
Water writer saying "ni hao"
Two families also on the dragon boat
Group Pic outside the Birds Nest
Track inside the Birds Nest
Group Pic inside the Water Cube
Artist playing outside the Olympic stadiums