We are still in a heatwave here I don,t think it will get any cooler now as summer approaches.There is a strange phenomenen that happens in beijing in April/ May a few years ago the gov,t decided to plant as many trees as they could in the city and a large proportion were poplars especially the female ones as apparently they grow very fast but this time of year they give off their seeds like small fine pieces of cotton so the whole city is covered in what looks like snow it gets everywhere,someone hadn,t thought that one through haha.
When we go for a walk around the complex there is an apartment in another block on the first floor which has a life size statue of Buddha in the window and gongs,bells ect,so I asked Jun could we just go and knock on their door and introduce ourselves which we did on Sunday they are a lovely family and practice in the Pure land tradition the bedroom is fitted out as a full ceremony hall they told us about their temple which is one of the ones we are going to visit soon anyway and said we can sit with them whenever we want to.
We visited a photography and art exhibition recently one of the art exhibitions was really interesting we walked into a large room and all across the floor there were clothes,furniture and other objects seemingly just scattered although it did look like some kind of pattern then we went upstairs following the arrows and when you looked down on it it became a picture ( I will send 2 photos one at eye level and one from above) very clever.We called to the bookworm i mentioned in my last e mail and i was right i didn,t like it.Also been to a couple more parks one of them was the beijing botanical gardens really beautiful but very crowded till we paid 20p each to go into the enclosed bonsai park that was fantastic an absolute oasis of trees,rocks and waterfalls.There are i think about 4/5 parks around where we live and have visited them all during the day but the other night we walked to the nearest one which is the smallest but i think the nicest and we saw open air ballroom dancing,a light/ water show kids and adults playing all kinds of games, ping pong,badminton, an open air film show (put on for the workers from the countryside who live on the building sites) a group of people writing poetry on the floor with water I now realize how popular that is since i first saw it,everyone was enjoying the evening and we found some nice bits of slate that had been thrown out for our plants,bonsais.
There was a lovely teahouse we went in not long ago in one of the old hutongs everything was old and subdued light with seats in corners overlooking a centre courtyard with plants ,an old well, bits of furniture and shafts of sunlight hitting them it was the kind of place you could have just sat in all day magical.
I laughed the other day at something i observed,the places we eat at over here aren,t sometimes as clean as we are used to in england and of course everyone smokes while eating ect, the food is always delicous but i make sure i dont see the kitchens, anyway i watched this woman who worked there wash her hands in a sink in the corner of the restaraunt and as i watched i was pleased to see how well she washed them then when she finished she walked over to the nearest tablecloth and dried her hands on it haha.
Well i will finish now and add a few photos, oh yes we have booked our flights we arrive back in UK on 7th July for 3 week visit we had to shop around as flights are very expensive but got flights on aeroflot flying to moscow then heathrow at nearly £200 each cheaper than other airlines ( I think they are ex world war 2 bombers ).