The Beijing accent. The taxi drivers are a perfect example of how forgetting to stick an "r" at the end of your words can make your life a little more difficult. I've finally gotten used to telling the cab driver I live near the "dongwuyuanr" (zoo) because saying it properly gets you nothing but confused looks in response. We all have a lot of fun "r-lizing" our words, mainly because it makes us sound like pirates.
Moving on. Time is definitely limited and it's so crazy to think that I only have a week left here. Before, it was so easy to put off seeing different places in Beijing because I was too tired from class, but now we suddenly have no time at all! So this past week we made it to Beihai Park, supposedly the most beautiful park in Beijing, and the Beijing Zoo (I can't believe it took us so long to visit, it's literally a 10 minute walk away).
Beihai was quite pretty, but I liked the Summer Palace more. Maybe the Summer Palace isn't considered a park though? Beihai was basically a mini-version of the Summer Palace - paths around a lake. Though the Summer Palace was where emperors used to retire in the summer so there are a ton of really pretty old buildings there too. At Beihai there was the White Tower, which was a white tower, go figure. But I feel like I'm not being fair, it was a very pretty place and it was nice to just wander around. Beihai has little side paths that the Summer Palace didn't have so you could feel like you were exploring a bit more here. Here are a few pics to give you a little taste:
Later in the week we went to the zoo, I brought my panda hat so I could get a cute picture of myself wearing it in front of the pandas, but unfortunately I forgot that I was in China. There were a TON of people and if you weren't rutheless about getting up to the front to see the pandas you had no chance of seeing anything. Once you got to the front, you had to be vigilant too because if people shifted around, you could find your spot taken magically by some wiley Chinese person.
After we had our fill of watching pandas munching on bamboo, we left. I was hungry and craving bread and it just so happened that they sold loaves of bread at all the food stands - which I'm pretty sure is to encourage you to feed the birds they keep in the zoo. I'm not sure, but I took it that way. The birds would notice the bread and proceed to stare at me super intensely as they made their way over to me. A little intimidating, but here's a video of my favorite bird, he's got a little mohawk - just like I used to have, right mom?
I feel like the animals were all really interested in the people who came to look at them, but that was probably because their cages were a little small and they didn't have much to do in there. There was a lynx that I played a little game with. You know how if you pretend to hide around a corner and stare at a cat, the cat eventually runs at you? Well, it works on lynxes too. He was loving it. Pics: