Yong He Lama Temple (July 27th, 2011, written by Chris Park)

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Today we had breakfast at the hotel. The options were limited, but still nothing to complain about. It included fried rice, noodles, several kinds of vegetables, and some pastries. After we quickly wolfed down our breakfast, we rushed to school where we would meet our new Taiqi teacher. As we traversed along the narrow, winding path to school, we noticed a few cars with smashed windows, possibly from the harsh storm that had occurred last night.  When we arrived at the school and dropped off our damp backpacks, we learned a few new Taiqi moves we could use against possible attackers. Afterwards, we had a three-hour long class with our teachers (we were split into 3 different groups) with occasional breaks. After class, at around noon, we all walked to a local Chinese restaurant where they served us authentic cuisine. Our palates were put to the test there, so some of us managed to settle with just plain white rice. Satisfied, we trudged back to our hotel underneath the daunting clouds.
After an hour of relieving rest, we jumped onto the shuttle bus we had been taking for the past few days and made our way to the Yonghegong Lama Temple, a Buddhist fusion temple. Numerous statues of Buddhist gods glinted in the dark rooms as our tour guide explained the significance of each statue and structure. After we had about half an hour to wander the temple for ourselves, we took a short walk to the Confucious temple where we saw his statue and walked along the stone paths. Later, we visited a village next to Hutong (A hutong is a special Chinese alleyway) by rickshaw. There, a specialist explained to us the magnificent history of a small house in Hutong which possessed more years of history underneath its belt that the United States of America. There was also a man in the small house who made beautiful paintings of people’s names for 60 yuan (less than 10 USD). After we took the rickshaw back to our shuttle bus, we headed to a restaurant that had accrued its fame with its world-famous Peking duck (shaved roasted duck). The restaurant was colossal and its dishes were amazingly delicious. Exiting the restaurant was like navigating a maze, but it barely phased us and our full stomachs. We all went home that night with full, content stomachs, regardless of the fact that most of us had gotten the classic Traveler’s during the first few days of the trip.