While rushing out of Jingshan Park West Gate, I pushed through locals, motorbikes, spice vendors and what nots until I reached one of the largest imperial gardens, Beihai park. Honestly? I’m not going to go park connoisseur on you and rave about the articulately designed Beihai Chinese garden built sometime in the 10th century, and examine its architecture and details of Bai Tai, the unavoidable marble white pagoda that stared down at me from all corners like it was trying to make a point.
Saturday morning and Beihai was packed with residents who took pleasure in exercising and taking it easy with the rest of Beijing or awe-stricken tourists gate-crashing Chinese wedding shoots, Tai Chi or aerobics classes.
I undeniably observed people like it was my duty until what sounded like the “beauty and the beat” of Persian music caught my attention. Directed by the music’s crescendo, I walked towards what was my best China-park-moment. A big party hosted by high-spirited Uyghurs, pronounced weegurs, (Muslim turks), minorities that make up less than 8% of China’s billion population. Prominent in Xinjiang at the heart of the silk road, they were dancing it out. Shuffling around and moving their hands and heads in slow movements.
A couple of numbers later, I crossed Beihai bridge, looked back at Bai Tai, for it got nothing on me, and hit Xicheng district where I almost attended mass at the Church of Saviour.