Monday, April 02, 2001

China 2001 - Summer Palace

Amazing, huge, tons of stairs, Ok maybe that last one was just because we had just been at the great wall. The summer palace was where the emperor would go during the summer when trying to escape the heat of the city. A tall hill covered by buildings, shrines and temple; the stones worked into the landscaping just add to it all.
Peeking into the windows in the rooms just full of gifts from other countries gave a really interesting glimpse into the world of what it could have been like back then. Room’s left locked with ancient locks that have not been used forever. Just the logistics of having to build rooms and buildings just to house all the gifts that are received from other countries is something that I would have never thought about having to do.
Long hall is the longest hall of artwork there is. All of the paintings are on the roof and support beams so you have to look up to see them. We couldn't try it but supposedly if you ran down the hall while looking up there were enough pictures flashing by of a stork to make a short animation. One of the pictures in long hall is the story of Zhugeling. Zhugeling was the assistant to the emperor that was in charge of logistics. He got to be so good at his job of accomplishing anything that needed to be done that it made some of the assistants mad. They suggested to the emperor to test his ability as the ultimate go to guy, if he failed he should be killed. The emperor agrees without knowing what task they want to assign him. They tell him that he must come up with 10,000 arrows in 2 days. He says fine without flinching but asks for 3 instead of 2 days. He sends off his assistants with orders to round up as much straw as they could and to line up all the ships of the country. The next day his assistants come to him for that days orders and he tells them to wait until tomorrow. They, knowing that he will be killed if he fails, start to panic. He calms them by letting them know they must wait for tomorrow. Sure enough fog rolls in the next day and they string up all the hay on the boats to look like men. They slowly sail past their enemy on the opposite shore. Thinking that it is a major attack they shoot as many arrows as they have directly at the ships, and the last thing that comes through the for as the ships start to sail away is Zhugeling yelling, “Thanks for the arrows.” That is just one out of hundreds of pictures that are in this one hall.
This is also where the marble boat is. One of the empresses had spent most of the country’s money on rebuilding the summer palace. When her navy requested that she spend it on building ships she built the marble boat. Needless to say she was the cause of losing the war they where in at the time.

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