China’s capital is at its most magical early in the morning. Few cities have such a profound sense of history as Beijing. It whispers down the grand boulevards, cries out from its megaliths and monuments, echoes in its palatial courts. And despite the fact that Chairman Mao’s mausoleum now looks over the Colonel’s Kentucky Fried, nothing of the past.

Tiantan Park - Beijing - China
Tiantan Park – Beijing – China

Unlike its more sassy sister cities of Shanghai and Hong Kong, where an energized nightlife rocks into the wee hours, Beijing seemingly slumbers after 10. But, like most Chinese communities, its parks and plazas spring alive to greet the rising sun with tai chi and other sports, some I could recognize, others I don’t. We visited Tiantan Park early in the morning to see thousands of Beijingers starting the day with tai chi. Tiantan Park, hugely popular among locals as a venue not only for tai chi, but also for myriad of activities from ballroom dancing to croquet to Chinese martial arts, and as we experienced, massive opera singing activities as can be seen on the video we made this summer. So Tiantan park is an ethereal place to visit,especially in the gentle morning light when old folks are practicing their tai chi and qigong, opera singing and sword dancing. A place where Beijing can catch its breath from the relentless and perplexing change of recent years.

Vieuw Gallery Tiantan Park – Beijing – China

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