Luckily, it seemed like we succeeded in beating the crazy crowds, which was a nice change from our experience the day before. The temple itself was really beautiful and like many of the other temples I've seen, much more impressive in person than in pictures.
While we were walking around and taking pictures, a Chinese man came over and asked to take a picture with us (an all too familiar occurrence as a westerner in Asia), and afterwards he was trying to tell us something, but we couldn't understand what it was. A few minutes later someone who spoke English told us that there was some kind of show going on soon and we had to move to the sides to clear way for the performance.
We moved to the sides and waited to see what was happening. Then we waited some more...and some more. Apparently "soon" wasn't really soon by out standards, and as the crowd got huge naturally the pushing began, which didn't make us too happy considering we were absolutely frozen by this point and getting a little cranky on account of our discomfort.
Finally, the show began and there were tons of people who marched in with traditional Chinese clothes and flags. After everyone marched in, different groups came to the center and did some sort of performance. It was interesting to see, but it was pretty long and repetitive and we had absolutely no idea what it all represented.
By the time the performance ended, we were beyond frozen and it actually hurt my joints just to start walking again. Our number one mission was to find someplace warm and FAST. Luckily, we saw a little bakery across the street and we were lucky to get there before the rush of people came in. We got some coffee and really delicious bread and sat in the warmth for a while while figuring out what was next.
After defrosting a bit and getting some food we were in much better spirits and decided to head over to Yuanmingyuan Park because there was a festival going on for the Lunar New Year. There were red lanterns everywhere and of course, lots of food stands. While we didn't eat anything, we did enjoy walking around the park.
After we finished at the park we decided to go back to the hostel to figure out our plan for the rest of the night (and to use a clean bathroom...we had already had two more extremely traumatic experiences this day). We got something to eat and decided to head Wangfujing Street to do some souvenir shopping.
One of the streets in this area sells all kinds of food....seriously, ALL kinds of food, including seahorses and scorpions.
|Yep, those are seahorses.|
We decided to eat at a restaurant in the mall and had some very delicious dim sum for dinner. We walked around for a bit more before decided to go back into the cold to make the trip back to our hostel.
|The area around the mall.|
We finally made it back to our hostel and our warm room to pack up our stuff for our early flight the next morning. Although our second day in Beijing had been a little rough, we had a much better time on our third day, and felt satisfied that we could leave China on a pretty positive note.