Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Jack's Beijing Adventure (4): To Peking University

Ariva Hotel, Haidian Road South, Beijing

So, if you imagine us taking a walk through the streets of Beijing towards Peking University, this is our starting point: the massive Ariva Hotel.

A somewhat Edward Hopper-esque window view

From there you can take either of two routes. Either the subway:

Or else the half-hour walk along Suzhou Street, through all the traffic and noise:


looking north

Haidian Bridge, facing west

In any case, eventually you have to go in by one of the gates, showing your ID to get in. This is the West Gate:

West Gate

And here's the main administration building (no less a personage than Mao Tse-Tung himself was once the librarian at Peking University, but that was when it was still located near the centre of the city):

Administration Building

stone lion outside the Administration Building

It really is quite a spectacular campus. The most beautiful part of it is undoubtedly Weiming Lake:

map of Weiming Lake

Weiming Lake



stones from the old Summer Palace

The ruins of the old Summer Palace are a little way north of the campus. They were destroyed by barbarian invaders - i.e. us - in 1860 during the second Opium War. The rebuilt palace is some distance away, and is a celebrated beauty spot (I didn't get the chance to go there, unfortunately).


memorial for Edgar Snow

Here's another interesting sight: a memorial to Edgar Snow, author of Red Star over China (1937), the first comprehensive account of Mao Tse-Tung, the Long March, and other historic details of the Chinese communist party's rise to power.

pond beside the New Zealand Centre

The NZ Centre is fortunate to be housed in a building so near the most beautiful part of the university. My friend Xiaotong told me that all through his childhood he had dreamed of walking by the Weiming Lake as a student of Peking University. Now that he'd achieved that ambition, he felt a little lost.

the pagoda

towards the East Gate

l-to-r: Professor Lui Shushen, me, A/ Prof Liu Hongzhong & A/Prof Mei Shenyou

My hosts were kind enough to invite me to dinner at a very famous restaurant, Quanjude Peking Duck Restaurant, to sample the celebrated delicacy ("you can't go home without trying it"). It was certainly very tasty, though a trifle complicated to eat.

Discussion time after my second lecture, with Hongzhong & me
& some visiting Kiwi students from Canterbury (28/11/18)

So there you are. It was certainly a great experience. I hope the rest of the course goes well - I've already sent in my exam questions for the students, so now it's all up to Hongzhong and the others. I did get lost once - on the way back from the university, the first time I went there, but luckily a kind English-speaking passerby took pity on me, and gave me directions back to the hotel.

Haidian Road South & the Ariva Hotel (21/11/18)

No comments: