Friday, December 3, 2010

1st Day in Beijing

**This post should have been on of the first ones. These were "kicked back" to Gretchen, but have been found!**

After being up for about 30 hours we finally arrived in Beijing, China at about 9:30 pm (7:30am your time).  We had our tour guide, Michelle, that was with us for the weekend pick us up at the airport.  Yes we were one of those families that was looking for their family name on a sign! :)
We stayed at Park Plaza and it was super nice!  We settled in Thursday night because we had a long 2 days ahead of seeing all the sights of Beijing.  Friday morning we met Michelle in the lobby at 9am and headed to Tienanmen Square which is the largest public square in the world.  This is where we were introduced to street vendors.  They were selling all kinds of things but especially panda hats, scarves and gloves.  They would literally try to put it in your hand.  Poor Dawson didn't know what to do when they handed him some gloves.  He walked over to me with them with a look on his face of "What do I do with these?" Michelle told us to keep walking and don't make eye contact!  This is also the first time we started to get all the "stares"!  Our blond hair, especially Payne, was something some of these tourist have never seen.  They were all very nice about it and we came to find out that staring must not be considered rude over here!
  Needless to say  the boys had several pictures taken of them with the Asian people.  They did great! We then took a tunnel under the street that led us to the Forbidden City.  We have learned that everything China is about even today revolves around their past history.  The City is basically the place where the Emperor lived with all his concubines and where no common people were allowed, which is where the city got its name. There was a garden toward the end that we would have loved to seen in the summer/spring.  I think it would have been beautiful!
 We then had lunch in a restaurant located in a park area. It was very good and we had several dishes to try! We then made a stop at the Pearl Market which was very interesting.  The boys were able to choose an oyster and
she opened it to see about 20 pearls!  We made a few purchases and went on to our next event.
 We took a Rickshaw ride through Hutong, the oldest city in Beijing.  It is the center of the city and goes along with the Chinese theory that the closer you live to the middle of the city, the wealthier you are.  We were actually able to enter into one home and talk with the lady of the house. We then went to the top of drum tower, and when I say top I mean TOP with a very steep set of stairs!  We watched 5 young people do a drum demonstration...the boys loved that!

 By this time in the day we were zapped!  We thought we would go back and take a quick nap, grab some dinner and go to bed early.  Well we went to be early....5:00pm!  We never woke up from our nap.  Needless to say we were all up about 2am.  Mrs. Ashley and Mrs. McMillon you would be proud because we took those early morning hours to do some of their homework! 

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