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Friday, March 30, 2007
Beijing, Day 2
Yesterday, when we first left the hotel, it was gray and cold. Very shortly thereafter, the sun came out and it was a warm and pretty day. Today was not yesterday. We met at 9:00 am in the hotel lobby before heading out to the Great Wall. The Wall is about an hour from our hotel. From our research, we knew that it was always cool at the Great Wall. Today was absolutely frigid.

Jim ventured up a ways, but I decided to enjoy the view from the bottom. He promised, and delivered, to bring back plenty of photos.

These are the famous locks. Tradition says that newlyweds climb the Wall to place a lock. They then throw the key over the side. If they later decide they want a divorce, they have to find the key and remove the lock.
Here we are at the Great Wall. When we returned to the bus, we learned that this was the shot people were buying at the souvenir stand. They had their picture taken and then laminated on a certificate saying they had been to the Great Wall. We joked with friends of ours that they needed to scan their certificate, then we can PhotoShop our picture in place.

We left the Wall and headed to lunch. First, we had about another half hour bus drive. On the drive, our guide shared a local joke with us. What do Chinese men call the perfect life? Chinese food, American salary, and Japanese wife. What do Chinese men call the worst life? Chinese salary, American wife, and Japanese house and food. She got so worried about offending us, but the entire bus howled with laughter.

When we arrived at our destination, we toured the cloisonne factory before heading upstairs for lunch. The main floor is filled with souvenirs. This was a Friendship store. It is owned by the government. In most places, you are expected to bargain for your purchases. Here the prices are high and fixed - no bargaining. Lunch was awesome. We didn't get pictures of the food, but it was delicious. We certainly can't complain about the portions. We've not finished all the food yet. It is placed on a large lazy susan in the middle of the table. Each table seats about 12 people. If I remember correctly, we had kung pao chicken, whole fish, red bean dumplings, fried potatoes, pork dumplings, hot and sour soup, vegetables, sweet and sour pork, and the most amazing beef and onion dish.

After lunch, we drove an hour to the Summer Palace. I'm sure the Summer Palace is beautiful in the summer. Right now, it was cold, gray, covered in hazy sky, and drizzling. Parts of it were also underwraps as construction was taking place.

The Summer Palace is on a lake. I think that this picture that Jim took is beautiful.

This boat is made entirely of marble. It was one of the final sights we saw at the Summer Palace before heading back to the bus. Some of the members of our group arrived yesterday, so they missed the tour. Our driver drove past Olympic park and the Bird Nest stadium again for them. Here's the picture Jim had posted. This stadium is where the opening ceremonies for the Olympics will be held. It is still under construction, but will hold 70,000 people.

On our way back to the hotel, our guide gave us some updated information on Sera. She's still on formula and rice cereal for meals. She is also now eating 1/2 an egg as a snack every day. She also likes to sleep on her belly.

We have no plans for this evening as day two in Beijing has kicked our butts. We all dragged ourselves off the bus saying good-bye and see you in the morning. We talked about ordering room service or trying one of the hotel dining rooms. We had been in our room less than 20 minutes before Jim started snoring. It's now been an hour and a half and he's slept through the ending of one and beginning of another loud movie and housekeeping ringing our doorbell. I think he's done for the night. I think dinner will be some fruit out of our fruit bowl and a granola bar. I'm also planning to handwash some clothes tonight.

Tomorrow, we hit the Forbidden City and then the acrobatic show in the late afternoon. Sunday morning, we will finally head to Chongqing. We're ready to go!

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What a neat story about the locks on the Great Wall !!! I'm so glad that you are having such a wonderful time. Great pics too!! :)


Blogger Kate said...

So exciting, such an adventure to accompany the arrival of Sera!


Blogger Stacy said...

I love the tradition of the locks on the great wall.

The pictures of the palace are just beautiful.

How exciting to get news about Sera.

Get some rest, sure sounds like you need it.

Blogger Marcia said...

so good that you got a little info on Sera...you have to be so excited about Monday!!!!

Anonymous Jessica said...

WE ARE SO EXCITED!!!!! Can't wait to hear more about Sera. Like how big she is and her giggle! I am sure she will have a great one!

Also can you e-mail the name/number of the person who is house sitting? I am sending that package and I wnat to talk to them to make sure they get it.

In our thoughts and hearts!

The Cook

Blogger C.J. said...

Very beautiful...but I'm ready for some Sera!

Blogger Tammie said...

The pictures are just wonderful!!! I can't thank you enough for allowing me to see some of Sera & Erin's birth country. (We didn't sightsee due to SARS)

BTW, I'm with C.J. & ready for some Sera pics!!

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