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Thursday, March 29, 2007
Day One (Plus Travel)
Ni Hao!

What a day we've had. It started with the Breakfast Buffet at the Zhaolong Hotel. More food than anyone could eat. We tried many of the items. The noodles and fried rice were especially good. The rice was lightly fried with bits of egg in it. It was white instead of dark like we're used to. The flavor was very delicate.

We then met our group in the lobby. Our group is so large that they divided us in half and used two tour buses. We began by visiting the Temple of Heaven. Then we went to lunch at a Dai restaurant. The Dai are one of the minority ethnic groups in China. They're known for their singing and dancing. They had a floor show entertaining us with their dancing while we ate. The food was very good there. My favorite was the soup. It was a clear broth soup that tasted like mushrooms. It was wonderful. I also enjoyed the duck. It was served like a fritter with a cubed bread crust. After lunch, we headed to the Ethnic Cultural Park. This part is dedicated to showcasing the ethnic minorities of China. Visit Jim's blog for his take on our outings. Since he already wrote about them, I'll focus on the rest of the day.

We made it back to the hotel around 4:30 and read emails and rested until 5:30 when we met up with part of our group. We braved the streets of Beijing to a restaurant (okay, it was around the corner) where we had a great dinner and an even better time. There were 14 of us. We had fried shrimp, chicken & peanuts, char-grilled pork, chicken with strawberries, brocolli, asparagus, fried rice and the signature dish, Peking Duck. By the end of dinner, our stomachs ached from laughing. We're with a great group of people.

Chicken and Peanuts

Fried Shrimp

I'm going backwards here to give you a recap of travel day. We left home at 5:00 am when our good friend, E, picked us up and drove us to the airport - two hours away. We got their the recommended three hours early for international flights, so, of course, we sailed through check in and security. You're only delayed when you're late apparently. We hung out at the airport and waited for the other couple from our group who would be flying out of the same airport. It was our first time meeting in person. They're a great couple, and we really enjoyed spending our travel time with them...and it was a lot of travel time! We flew into Shanghai. Our flight actually arrived 45 minutes early. The Shangai airport is nothing to write home about. Limited, uncomfortable seating without a lot of amenities. It wasn't bad; it was just that we were there for almost six hours. Luckily, we had good company to make the time go faster. We finally boarded our flight to Beijing. We arrived around 9:30 pm. We were a little concerned when we couldn't find our guide. She was meeting other members of our group at the international gate. We came in at the domestic gate.

After a thirty minute ride, we made it to the hotel where we were given our room keys. I jumped in the shower, while Jim waited for our luggage to arrive. One thing to remember when you're exhausted and on little sleep is how to turn the lights on in the hotels here. After swiping your key card and the door opens, there is a place on the wall for you to place your card. This is what turns on the lights. When you remove your card and leave, the lights go off. You can remove the card while you're in the room and the lights stay on. It seems to be the combination of removing the card and opening the door that turns them off.

I know there were so many things that I thought about writing about throughout the day, but I'm going blank right now. Jim is snoring and the jealousy is making my mind go blank. I think it's time I got some sleep.

We're having a wonderful trip. Catch ya in 24!

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Blogger Marcia said...

glad things are going so well! The food looks really yummy!

Blogger C.J. said...

Thanks for the update.

Whew, maybe I won't starve in China...that food looks like something I can handle!

Blogger Meizhi's Mom said...

I had the same mental lapse each and every day in CHina...I would think about ALL the things to tell y'all about but I'd forget them when I tried to write. Just enjoy it all and at the very least-make notes for yourself to remember all the little things. Blessing to You from back home!
Erin & Meizhi

Blogger Stacy said...

What a great day! Thanks for all of the tips.

The dinner looks really good, I am worried about the food, but that doesn't look so bad.

I hope you got a good nights sleep!

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