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Jim Blue at Beijing's Temple of Heaven park

Beijing's Temple of Heaven park is a great place to spend an afternoon and to hear performers good and not so good.

Residents break into song spontaneously. One group harmonized under the arch of the park's entrance. A pair of musicians played the traditional two-stringed erhu - in a Chinese version of dueling banjos.

In the middle of the park is the iconic round temple so often presented as a symbol of Beijing. Ming an Qing emperors would come to this location four times each year to offer sacrifices to the Gods to insure a good harvest.

Dancers practice in the groves of trees planted around the temples. And just as graceful - martial artists practicing the forms of Kung Fu.

Just as we were leaving, we happened across an old calligraphy artist using only water and a brush to create the traditional characters. He spotted us and created a personalized message which our daughter, Sagan, who has just completed two years studying in Hong Kong, was able to interpret. It means - international friends.

And as a gift, he presented Sagan with a scroll bearing the symbol for happiness. A perfect way for us to finish our visit to the Temple of Heaven.

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