Taoranting Park From A Boat
Taoranting Park, the parts of which had been built at the end of the 17th century, during one of the most stable periods of the century, since its very beginnings attracted learned men of different denomination, not usually exhibiting rebellious inclinations, since the place hadn't been regarded as an Imperial Park. Substantially expanded in the 20th century, the park definitely makes one of the most pleasant scenic spots in Beijing.
Although I have visited the place on numerous occasions before, this time, for the first time I have decided to make use of a boat in order to explore the central lake and it was absolutely worth its price (renting a boat for two people amounted to nearly 100 kuai).
While steering the lake I had a chance to marvel at the near buildings and the greatest pleasure to listen to the sounds of saxophone, flute and Chinese violin, which were played by numerous people resting on the banks. A picture almost to idyllic to be true in the ever noisy and overcrowded setting of Beijing.
As any other public park in Beijing, Taoranting Park attracts casual dancers, families and elders who are eager to enjoy the weather by playing cards or Chinese chess, known as wei qi. What attracted my attention this time was the most unusual fact that some of the dancing groups frequenting the park experiment with different music and dancing styles, contributing in making the whole experience not a usual noisy exercise, but rather truly exceptional feat. In fact, many people in China are a bit irritated by "aunties" and "uncles" who would never waste a chance to practice their dancing skills in every available public square in the evenings, but it always inspires me to see people often in their 60's for whom the time seems to have stopped and who know no limitations other than their own creativeness.
To be honest, observing the place from boat has altered my perspective and helped to appreciate even more than before, the beauty of garden complexes in China. And I can certainly recommend you a visit to Taoranting Park, which apart from being conveniently located in the vicinity of a subway station of the same name, is undoubtedly a tremendous place to spend an inspired and peaceful weekend afternoon.