Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ni Hao from Beijing, China

When we packed up 10 months of clothing into 4 large suit cases last July, we never thought we would be needing wool socks, long johns, sheep skinned boots, or down coats for our time in humid hot Thailand. But, when we signed up to do a 5 day tour of Beijing with two other friends, Annet & Geneva, we knew we would need it all. We arrived there mid day Wednesday and the temps were 1* C (33.8*F) and since we had become acclimatized to Thailand’s weather it hit us hard. Since we were on a tour, we got to travel like most Asian people do…in a large tour bus! Yes, we stuck out and had no clue what our tour guide said to us the entire 5 days. But, we knew where to find him since we was carrying the Thai flag. We never really got to know the other people on our tour, but they would smile at us, try to tell us what was in our food, and referred to Daniel as Jim Carry. We got to see all the major touristy things; The Summer Palace, Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City, The Temple of Heaven, The Bird's Nest, and of course The Great Wall of China. Most places looked the same with the Chinese architecture and symbolic features like; Buddha, pagodas, prayer wheels, dragon/horse sculptures, and everything painted red. The Bird's Nest/ Olympic Stadium was a fun place to visit and see where all the 2008 Olympic events took place. A highlight of our trip was going to the ever so Great Wall of China. We got to spend 2 hours hiking up the thousands of steps and looking across miles of wall-lined hills. Daniel was excited about putting on his rock climbing shoes and actually (and probably illegally) “climb” parts of The Great Wall. Again, since we were on a tour, we had the ever so annoying pleasure of going to all the mandatory tour bus stops like; the tea factory, Chinese medicine factory, the jade and pearl factory as well as many other places that try to get tourist to buy their product. Fortunately, since they could tell we didn’t speak their language, we were ignored most places. Aside from the daily meals of white rice and our choice of chicken, pork, or duck, we had a great trip and really enjoyed seeing another side of Asia.

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