Sidecars, Monkey Kings, and Kite Eating Trees

Sunday afternoon, weather’s nice, nothing that absolutely has to be done at work today, what to do…?

It’s “Get out the Map” time, of course.

This time I picked Yuyuantan Park over on the west side of Beijing, not quite as far out as the Sculpture Park or Wukesong, but in the same direction, and conveniently situated near a subway station.

On the way from Seasons Park to the subway, I took the opportunity to snap a picture of something I’ve been seeing frequently for a long time.
I first noticed this thing not long after I moved into my apartment, and it has not moved since. Note that the sidecar seat has become storage space for something – I don’t know what’s in the can.

The path from Muxidi Station to the park lies along this canal.
I paid my ¥2 (about $0.30) and went in.
I’m not sure if this was volunteer karaoke or a set performance, but the guy had a very good singing voice.
This is a very popular pastime here. It’s called jianzi, sort of a Chinese version of hacky-sack, only instead of a little beanbag it’s a weighted feathery thing.

Like many of Beijing’s parks, Yuyuantan features water.
This lake is mostly manmade, though the park dates from Imperial times when there was a spring here, so water was around, if not in this form. And like most of Beijing’s parks with water, you can rent boats. In the background is the China Central Radio Tower, which can also be seen from the Summer Palace. Maybe someday I’ll go inside to check out the view.

It has been noted elsewhere that though Beijing will be hosting the Paralympic Games, it is notoriously difficult for disabled people to get around here.
Here’s one of the reasons why. Not only are sidewalks made of tiles that can be uneven, but there are sections under repair all over the place. My personal observation is that they wouldn’t have to repair them so often if they built them better in the first place, but that’s the way it’s done here.
There’s a “bridge” across the lake, and right now it’s decorated with a “dragon” – I put it in quotes because if you look at it closely, you’ll see that the individual discs behind the head are decorated with Olympic mascots.

Yuyuantan is home to a large garden of cherry trees, and it being about the right time of year, I figured I could catch some in bloom.
Me and several thousand other people. As it turned out, this tree was the only one in full bloom. So much of the park is under construction or renovation or expansion or something that it’s hard to even tell where the other trees are supposed to be.

Regular readers will probably already have noticed that I’ve been to quite a few of the city’s parks, and many of them have little rides for the young ones. (See Chaoyang Park, Tuanjiehu, and so on – heck, even the Sculpture Park had a ride.)
Here’s a water ride on the theme of the Monkey King, who is a very popular figure here.

One last shot from the park proper:
A little traffic jam on the lake. Note the green boat in the middle, which is decorated like a Red Army tank, and the little flying saucer shaped one in the background.

Just south of the park is the China Millennium Monument.
It looks like there’s some kind of art show going on inside: Master Pieces of the 19th Century European Paintings at the Perez Simón Collection. (That is what the sign says.)

But all in all, I’d say the area gets more use as a place to fly kites.
This tree sees a lot of action. It might be hard to tell from the picture, but there are about a dozen kites stuck in it. Charlie Brown had it easy compared to the kids in this area.


  1. [Feeling all nostalgic about the 5 years spent in Beijing] .... A couple of points - my Flickr nickname is Monkeyking. And many Chinese are so good at that Jianzi game they'd beat David Beckham and Ronaldo in a game any day of the week!

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Woai. If these ordinary things make you nostalgic about Beijing, you must be a bit like me - paying attention to little things.

    I'd have to say the technique for jianzi is different enough from football that you're right, though I expect pros like you mention could pick it up quickly. I'm sure they'd start out way better than I am - I'm hopeless at it.

  3. Hey it's the least you could do after all the valuable contributions you've made on my blog.

    Yeah I'm a sentimental old fart as I approach middle age.

    You just need to practice it's not that hard.