(new) Summer Palace


Cost: adults Y60 each, kids Y30 each

When we first moved to Beijing, we noticed on a map that the Summer Palace was a tourist attraction on our side of town (it’s in far northwestern Beijing), but it’s sort of hard to get to by subway from our neighborhood because there isn’t a north/south running subway line as far west as we lived. We also saw that the double-decker buses in our neighborhood went there so we made a plan to ride the double-decker bus to the Summer Palace. And then we didn’t do it for almost two years! Some of the bigger tourist destinations we kept putting off for nice days and weekends when B could go with us. We finally tackled the Summer Palace on June 10.

 On the top level of the double-decker bus on the way to the Summer Palace.


We entered via the north gate and walked through Suzhou Street. It’s sort of like a hutong built on a canal. PS loved it.





After Suzhou Street, we headed south. Map from here.

Longevity Hill, Sumeru Temple and Hall of Buddhist Tenets




Buddhist Fragrance Tower and the view




Paiyun Gate, Yunhuiyuyu Archway and the Long Corridor



Bottom left picture, this couple wanted a picture of their Squidgems-sized kid with Squidgems. I especially like his rat tail hair. We had to hurry and move after this picture because a bunch of out of town tourists were about to swarm.


Seventeen Arch Bridge and views

We rode a dragon boat back across Kunming Lake toward Qingyan Boat (Marble Boat).


Half-Wall Bridge

Then we left the same way we came in.


China Life

 Squidgems saw these and said, “Look, Phineas and Ferb!”

 Water brush calligraphy in a park.

 This is Buddy taking a picture of a Chinese guy with Squidgems with the guy’s phone. Near Tianan’men/Forbidden City.

 6/21 Super moon of some sort on the way home from youth activities.

 Before we sold our e-bike, we had to see how many of us we could fit on it at the same time.

 We also let PS take it on a little ride.


Walking from Decathlon toward home. Not sure why I took this picture.

 This cracked me up for two reasons. 1) the car parked on the sidewalk and 2) the sign says a Chinese name and then “Disaster Prevention Theme Park.”


For some reason, before starting the work day, salons sing/dance out front.

 Driving around in Becky’s car, the tallest and soon to be new tallest buildings in Beijing. And below, Short Pants.



This bike fold completely flat!

 PS looked long and hard for this popsicle she saw advertised that “peels.” We found it. It was gross.

 6/26 Trying out the new air conditioned booth on our way home from church on our last Sunday.


View of the train bridge taken from the pedestrian bridge on the way to church.

Church building. Well.. we use part of the 4th floor.

 Our bus stop.

 Cute girls at the new Summer Palace.

The vies from across the street from our building. This is the north gate of campus. Our building is the tall red one.

McD’s ice cream.

Apparently, It’s Kimchi Season


There’s apparently some sort of black Friday- like deal on leafy greens at my local Chinese grocery store. I’m so confused…


Don’t get me wrong… it was a deal (about 30 cents for the largest bunches). I just have no idea what the lady in front of me is going to do with NINE of these bunches!

(The next day I went back to the store and there was a small box truck full of more cabbage being unloaded.)

China Life

Our subway got a little crowded on the way to PS’s church activity one week.

 At the Tiantandongmen subway stop on line 5, there’s this cool stairway Buddy liked.

 PS’s dream… a library book vending machine.

 This is the first drinking fountain I’ve ever seen in China. It’s on a line 15 subway platform.


 B and I were walking in a neighborhood near Ping’anli subway stop (line 6) and saw that a lot of the parked cars had these license plate protection locks. I *think* it’s probably because based on the numbers on your license plate, you have one day a week you can’t drive in the city.

Buddy made these itty bitty Legos.

This is what it looked like after I dropped Princess Sparkley off for girls camp. Snow!

B and I found a Mexican restaurant sort of on our side of town (Ping’anli, only about 40 minutes). It was pretty good. B even took Princess Sparkley a few weeks later because he loved the banana fingers so much.

The kids with their cousin JF’s Flat Stanley.

B and I went for what, according to the menu, was Korean food.

Squidgems is finally FINALLY free of the molluscum contagiosm rash he’s had forEVER. When I was at book club or young womens, B put Squidgems in pajamas and noticed a possible bump on  his leg he was concerned about. B was going to be asleep when I got home and we’d only have about 15 minutes together in the morning before he left for school… so, when I helped Squidgems get dressed the next morning, I found this…


Some sort of storyboard decoration on PS’s door.


We ran out of water after hours (water delivery is 8-8) so

we thought it’d be fun to see if the little liter bottle would fit.

China Life


 My new favorite food… Cookie Puffs at Paris Baguette (Y8 each but you have to buy two). Sort of like a cream puff but a snickerdoodle flavored puff part.

I couldn’t get a good picture of how matchy this couple is!

Leftover pizza from a YW activity. It’s from Tube Station but Kro’s Nest pizza is also GIANT.


I saw a Staples delivery truck at the school gate one day too.

I didn’t even know Staples (or UPS) existed in China.

 The movie theater we went to (future post) was in a fancy mall and in the women’s bathroom, there was a tiny urinal and a tiny sink! So cute!


People here match their spouses, their boy/girl friends, their kids their best friends. It’s sort of weird.

 Even in China, Uncle Sam wants us to do stuff.

China Life


This is what our fast food delivery bikes look like. For some reason, there were

three Pizza Hut guys at the same apartment complex next to ours.

All the manhole covers look like smiley faces.

 This is our gate with our building in the background.

Those are all delivery “tricycles” waiting for people to come pick up deliveries.




This bike has a seat behind the main seat, a a foldable seat in front of it.

 My new favorite juice (grape).


The church skyscraper on an especially blue day.

Squidgems on the last train on the way to church.

 I think I was trying to get a picture of three older ladies all wearing similar outfits (super patterned shirts with gray/black sweatpants). But also, this is the little alley next to our grocery store and McDonalds.


B hasn’t tried this one yet. I’m sure he wants to. I think the highest he’s tried is 86%.


 A Lionel Messi scooter!


Crowded transfer between lines 1 and 10.


Asleep in the baby carrier on my back.

 Thin Oreo flavors here in China.

 Gum and toothpaste, packaged together.

 Prepping veggies for the restaurant (and smiling and Squidgems).


Matchy Matchy. There was a third but she walked away.

We finally found a sprout for PS to wear in her hair. It’s the new trend here.

 Tow truck for a bus.


In our wet market… before I snapped the picture, the tiny butcher was pretending to chop meat.

 On the way to church a different Sunday. We get on the first stop

of line 13 so we get on an empty train.

Food… this is a restaurant south of B’s school. We think it’s the one all the teachers refer to as the tree bar. These sandwiches are called Chinese hamburgers and are really good (the bun is just okay). I forgot to take pictures until we were already part way done eating.

We always order Papa Johns pizza on Tuesday nights (it’s 50% off and it’s the night I have to take PS across town for young womens activities). Usually we order pepperoni, cheese, BBQ chicken or Hawaiian but the boys also like meatball and sometimes we get one called Thai chicken. They have John’s favorite here, but it’s a little spicier than in the States. This day I logged in and there’s a Mexico corn chip pizza option. Not sure if we’ll try that one.


Coming home from church. I’m going to pretend that everyone is starring and taking our picture because I have four kids, not because we’re all on devices.

And some China scene’s from B:

An alley market near our apartment had a collection of small busts. You know, all the great leaders of history.

Wait, what?


One day outside the mall there was a giant temporary sculpture of a whale. We took a picture because our oldest son loves whales. This makes it look like the whale had its own security guard, but really it was a guy standing there to keep the metal fence pieces from blowing away. (It was a very windy day.)

Generally speaking, if there’s a safety sign up in America, it means their lawyers want to protect themselves against possible future liability. If there’s a safety sign up in China, though, it means several people have died and management is getting tired of having to deal with it. This sign translates as: Please note: Watch out for bumped heads.

Sam’s Club sells giant-ass bathtubs. That’s just under $300 for an adult-sized bath pod.

And for only $780 you can own a life-size Boonie Bears bear. (Sexy model not included.)

If I wasn’t trying to limit my meat consumption, I would totally try this yak meat.

The motorized ramps down to one of our local groceries stores recently received these “one-way street” signs. The Chinese translates as “please don’t go in the direction not allowed by traffic regulations.” When each character is an entire word, you can get wordy like that, I guess.

When my school took all the students on a field trip to an auto museum, I didn’t know what to expect. If it was going to be China-centric, wouldn’t it be a fairly small museum? Evidently, no, not when moving giant blocks on rollers counts as a “car.” But seriously, this museum was pretty cool and my family is going to return sometime soon for our kids to check it out.

I’m curious how this pillow is supposed to improve my eyesight. But not curious enough to buy it and try it out.

Since there are no laws against negligent parenting here, we’re allowing our kids to do the kinds of things that used to be totally normal. A few weeks ago, our oldest kid, 13-year-old Princess Sparkley, rode the subway across town by herself to go to the movies with a friend. She even got back home okay!

China Photos

 Leaving Walmart the other day, these guys walked past.

 B and I have discussed getting a bike, and we’d need a seat for a passenger in back, but one that would accommodate Squirt (sides so he wouldn’t just tumble out) but also me if B was riding me around (and I can’t really squeeze into most of the seats with sides). Then I saw this. This woman has a back seat, and a baby seat strapped to her handlebars (?) somehow.

While we were waiting for friends by our subway stop, this woman stopped in order to pull the net cover over her dog stroller and then doubly secure that with a blanket/scarf (on a beautiful weather and air day).