Wednesday, May 03, 2006

China | Hebei Province | Chengde Summer Resort

From Ulaan Butong we drove south to the old Qing Summer Resort at Chengde and spent the night.
Qing Emperor Kangxi (r.1661-1722), founder of Chengde Summer Resort
The next morning I was up early and joined the thousand or more people funneling into the summer resort. A ticket to the resort grounds is an unbelievable 90 yuan ($11.22) for Chinese and foreigners alike (the notoriously frugal Kangxi would be appalled), although surely the many elderly retirees present get a free pass or at least some kind of discount. As the sign notes, after a sojourn to the Mulan Hunting Grounds Emperor Qianlong retired here to the Pavilion to Enjoy Chilly Fragrance.
Pavilion to Enjoy Chilly Fragrance
Oldsters doing the Tai Chai thing in the courtyard of the Pavilion to Enjoy Chilly Fragrance.
Although it is early spring and not much vegetation is out yet there were some nice blooming shrubs in the Pavilion to Enjoy Chilly Fragrance.

Another nearby pavilion
Yet another pavilion
The resort’s many secluded nooks are handy for lovers young and old
Another pavilion
The surprisingly austure quarters of the Qing Empress Dowager Cixi, who if we are to believe the many lurid accounts written about her engaged in an Endless Series of Orgies and Bacchanals. Modern historians have tended to discount many of these stories.
Students from the Chengde Tourism Institute with their teacher (in the red sweater). They were having a class at the resort itself, part of which included befriending foreign tourists and guiding them around for free. Their English teacher is from the Philippines and although she speaks English with an almost pure American accent claims to have never been in the USA.