Monday, Oct. 13, 2008

8. Coal Hill Park

Another worthwhile morning destination is Jingshan (Coal Hill) Park, behind the Forbidden City. Not only is it an oasis of flowers and trees, it also boasts a breathtaking view of the Palace from the top of one of Beijing's very few hills, which was constructed from earth that was dug up to make the moat of the Forbidden City. Each morning the park fills with middle-aged and older Chinese who gather in groups to sing the revolutionary songs of their youth, play the traditional two-stringed erhu or practice the slow, graceful movements of tai chi. Everyone is friendly and will try and get you to join them in the tai chi. Do so.