You have to be an early bird on a Saturday morning in Beijing. If you arrive at Beihan Park around 8 a.m. the array of activity is dazzling. Men and women gather by the side of the 12th century lake to do tai chi, qui gong and martial arts with sticks and swords. Some do the forms in groups while others find a vista or a small temple as a setting for their own private exercise. Along a path a man and woman were walking their caged birds. How serene is that? Another read the paper on a bench along the lake while his bird hung on a tree branch singing for him. A chorale of women in one of the Five Dragon Pavilions filled the air with Chinese songs. In another area two men played wooden Chinese flutes with a modern twist. They had an IPod for accompaniment and the Chinese minuet was piped through speakers as background music for those working out. In still another area of the park men and women gathered for ballroom dancing. It’s definitely worth getting out of bed on the weekend for this joyful noise.
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