Today the boys had an early breakfast (at 7:30) before making the half-an-hour drive to the Summer Palace. The group was accompanied by local students who explained the historical significance of the place. After ambling about the empress’s quarters and enjoying the view of the lake, the boys walked or, more accurately, climbed to the top of the emperor’s palace. First they enjoyed the view and stared awestruck at the magnificent statue of Buddha, before starting the trek down through a small garden. Along the way, the group encountered a flutist and saxophonist whose musical prowess rejuvenated tired legs and gave the students the strength to make it to lunch.
The lunch consisted of seemingly never-ending courses. Highlights included giant meatballs, vegetable dumplings, and peking duck. Afterwards, the students reached a nearby shopping district that was home to all manner of stores selling colorful trinkets and never-before-seen foods. The boys (hopefully) took the opportunity to buy souvenirs for their families back home.
Then the students spent an hour in the hotel, alone, and relaxed in their rooms. Some showered in preparation for a colossal banquet at a nearby hotel. Also at the banquet were familiar faces and some that have yet to grace the Circle, as current and soon-to-be Groton students and parents dined side-by-side.
Finally, with full stomachs and bright smiles, the boys retired at 9:45 and started packing in anticipation of the 7:10 departure from the hotel tomorrow. (written by Rajit Khanna)