Monday, October 29, 2007
Close Encounters in the Park
I met up with a friend who was staying at the Grand View Garden Hotel in the southwest side of the city. It's known as the place where the Dream of the Red Chamber television series was shot.
It's tucked inside a neighbourhood complete with a park next to it. And before the sun went down I did a little exploration of it.
Overall the upkeep is quite good, and clean. In the summer it's probably bustling with people, but yesterday the weather turned sharply colder and not many wandered in. Those who did were bundled up to protect themselves from the chilly wind.
There's a beautiful pond in the middle with pavilions and walkways around it. There's also a small rose garden with roses still blooming at the end of October. Leaves were turning yellow and a few orange, either clinging onto the branches or fallen to the ground.
While it's a nice place to have a stroll, it was kind of disconcerting to see people trying to make a living inside the park. Near the entrance was a shoddy stage where a very young girl who probably didn't make the cut in an acrobatics troupe was doing her own little show of contortions. It was very sad to see her doing this act in the cold and she didn't seem like she enjoyed performing either.
At another end of the park, a young woman asked me if I wanted to dress up in imperial-style robes for a picture. She obviously didn't have much business today. There was also a marriage procession -- men carrying a chair with a woman in it -- complete with Chinese musicians for fun.
I didn't wander through every inch of the park since it was getting cold and decided to make my way out. But before I reached the exit, an orange striped cat made a beeline for me and circled me. He meowed and I crouched down and petted him. He continued circling me and was eager for a good scratch behind his ears.
I did this for several minutes and some passersby remarked how friendly he was with humans. He's probably the resident cat in the park and he does do some good PR.