This beautiful marble stone boat parked in Summer Palace was and is a tourist trap, for generations. When I was little, we visited Summer Palace, as well as ZhongShan Gongyuan like it was/were the only places on earth, which was not too far from the truth. Given there was no tourist industry to speak of. We went to the places that were near us.
In 2003, I took the kids to visit Summer Palace, and … they were not impressed. Well, they were only 9 and 10 years old. There was an exquisite photo of my relatives on the boat in the 1930s. Anyway, what made me talking about this stone boat, is the book Patchwork Child by Brooke Astor (see the pic to the right). With the laureate of Random House, and all the editorial power her money could buy, they didn’t get this simple fact right. It is NOT “The pure marble Summer Palace outside Peking” 132 Please don’t get me wrong, this is a wonderful book but they committed to a very elementary mistake: they missed the boat – pure marble boat instead. Summer Palace is outside of Beijing. Gosh, I must make this kind of mistakes all the time, but I am no Random House.