Monday, November 28, 2005

HOLY SMOKES!! How many girls on that bike???? Posted by Picasa

More acrobats Posted by Picasa

Acrobats Posted by Picasa

This type of corner on a building signifies that it's an imperial building. Posted by Picasa

Part of the Temple of Heaven Posted by Picasa

Pedicabs, we didn't have time for a ride!! :-( Posted by Picasa

STARBUCKS!!!!!! Posted by Picasa

Lotus Lane Posted by Picasa

Cool stone arch Posted by Picasa

Tracy, Liz, Brion and Wayne in one of the way arches Posted by Picasa

Us in front of one of the emperial lions (the male one) Posted by Picasa

A finished building Posted by Picasa

Reconstruction of one the buildings Posted by Picasa

Some of the beams at the Forbidden City Posted by Picasa

Us in front of Mao's picture Posted by Picasa

Student uprising statue Posted by Picasa

Countdown to the Olympics sign Posted by Picasa

Another Gov't building Posted by Picasa

This is Mao's mausoluem Posted by Picasa

One of the Chinese Gov't buildings Posted by Picasa

Coke or Sprite anyone?? Posted by Picasa

Another view from our room Posted by Picasa

One of the views from our room. Posted by Picasa

Wayne in our hotel room! Posted by Picasa

Beijing Day #2

Woke up this mornin’ feelin fine...something tells me I’m into somethin’ good...
I have that blasted Cheerios commercial running through my head. We headed down for breakfast with Liz and Brion around 7:00am. What an interesting selection of breakfast foods! Beef Congee, Puffed Roll with sweet BBQ Pork, Potatoes with veggies, and my personal favorite...RICE KRISPIES! Yes, finally something that I know is safe. Although...I did drink the milk...

Tracy arrived to take us to Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City, The Temple of Heaven and we caught the Beijing Acrobatics show. PHEW!! It was a marathon day of sightseeing!
We drove for a few miles and then Tracy decided that the traffic was too bad and going much too slow, so we hopped out of the van and caught the subway. For this little northern town girl, the Beijing subway was impressive. Tons of people and very quiet. Very little sound from anyone. After transferring trains, we had made it to Tiananmen Square. This is one of the places that I wanted to visit most. In 1989 there was a student uprising and there were many people killed in this square. I remember very vividly seeing a man stand in front of a tank and watch in horror was the tank rolled right over him. We saw Chairman Mao’s mausoleum. The Chinese parliament building, and I think a judicial building of some sort.

Wayne and Brion did not bring decent hats to wear in the cold, so the first street peddler with 2008 Olympic hats got to sell them to us. 10 yuan for a nice little Olympic hat...There are 8 yuan in 1 USD. So, we paid just over $1.00 for the hat. The street vendors/peddlers are very insistent. Something that we here in the US are not used to. We saw a mother pushing her small child of maybe 3-4 years old to beg outside the Forbidden City. It was hard to see.
The Forbidden City was amazing. The history of the building is just overwhelming. Tracy told us many interesting facts along the way and I wish I could remember more about it. The city is where the emperors lived and conducted most of their business. At times there were as many as 3000 people living and working within the city. One interesting fact...some of the emperors had up to 300 concubines. Each of them could have up to 10 servants a piece. We walked the entire length of the city. There are way too many building to explore and one could get lost very easy. The city consists of 170,000 square word HUGE!!!!

After the Forbidden City we headed towards Lotus Lake. It’s a manmade sea. They call it a sea because the last emperor wanted to make it seem much bigger than what it really is. This area is now poplar with foreign tourists. There are many shops and restaurants that cater to Americans. Tracy took us for lunch at a very old restaurant. It has been in business for over 700 years. They are famous for their BBQ dish. It was awesome!! Wayne and I love Chinese food and were looking forward to getting to the chance to sample more traditional Chinese dishes. We had the best chrysanthemum tea. Beautiful yellow tea with white petals in it. We had snow peas pods, sweet and sour pork, chicken with peanuts, a corn mixture and it was all very delicious.

After the lunch we took a small tour of a pearl factory. I hadn’t planned on spending a lot on pearls, but...China is the only producer of purple and pink pearls. Wayne and I picked out 2 lovely strands of purple freshwater pearls for Anna and Julia (along with matching earrings of course!!). I wanted them both to have a set for their wedding day. don’t tell them!! Liz also bought a necklace and an earring set in pink. They are very cool!

Now, it’s onto the Temple of Heaven. I had seen some really amazing pictures of the temple. However, they are in the middle of a major restoration. As is the rest of the city in the preparation for the 2008 Olympics. We were not allow inside the temple which was a huge bummer to me. Oh well! As of right now, I can’t think of what exactly all the uses for the temple are (it’s 2:30 am here in China!), but I will tomorrow!

Last but not least, we took in the acrobatics show. One word: WOW! That’s all I said over and over again. These people can do some fantastic things! I had a very hard time staying awake during the show. We walked a million miles today and I was super tired. We had a typical American dinner by having McDonald’s.

We hope everyone at home is doing well. Grams...take care of yourself. No more hospitals. Talk about stress!! Cameron and Anna, Mommy and Daddy wish you were here! We love you very much and hope you are having a good time with Aunt Theresa, Grandma Denise and Aunt Pam. Have you made any cookies yet? :-)

Well, I better get. It’s nearly 3:00am here and I need some more sleep. We are headed to the Great Wall and the Summer Palace tomorrow!! Love you all!!