Saturday, June 19, 2010

A day of sightseeing

Our day started bright and early but I actually wasn't sleeping that well anyway so I guess to get up early was fine.  Ron seemed to be sleeping well but he said the bed was a little uncomfortable.  The bed is hard, there is no give -- not like a firm mattress we might have at home.  Ron said it was like sleeping on the floor and I would have to agree. 
So we got down to breakfast in the hotel around 7 am.  It is an interesting buffet.  They have breakfast foods but also foods that we'd consider lunch or dinner foods.  But then I don't know for sure what they eat for breakfast here in China.  While at breakfast we also met the other 4 families that are here for adoptions through Great Wall (our adoption agency).  There are three couples from Florida and the family we met last night at the airport -- they are from Illinois.  Everyone is very friendly.  We have becoming first time parents in common with the one couple from Florida and it's funny because the husband is my age and the wife is Ron's age.  So we have a couple things in common with them.  The family we met at the airport is adopting an older girl (4 years old) and so we along with them will fly to Guangzhou one day earlier than the other couples so that our daughters can have a TB test done which is a requirement for any child 2 years old and older being adopted, if I remember correctly.  So it will be nice not to be alone at the hotel but to know someone else.  
Our day was spent sightseeing here in Beijing.  I never realized how large of a city Beijing was until today.  Our guide Michelle, shared a lot of things about the city.  Of course to remember everything she told us is not something that we'll do I'm sure.  By the way our guide, Michelle, has been wonderful.  She lets us know where we can eat that the food is all okay, clues us in on tipping, and other things that are appropriate.  What would we do without her!!  We started out at Tiananmen Square.  It was crazy to see all the people.  There were a lot of Chinese people there on vacation, people from other countries, people on tours, families, people from other other adoption agencies, and who knows who else.  So it was very crowded due to it being the weekend and summer.  We went into the Forbidden City and I never realized how it goes on forever it seems.  There are many "gates" as they call them.  And it took us a while to walk through the whole thing but very interesting because it was built in 1406 to 1420 (something like that).  We used the toilets there.  They don't use the word "restrooms" here that we have seen.  There are just signs for "toilets".  I was glad to see when we went into the women's restroom that there were regular western toilets as well as the squaty potties.  So I opted for the toilet I'm familiar with.  Forgot the toilet paper but got a tissue from one of the other ladies in our group.  And they don't throw toilet paper down the stool, they put it in a small trash can next to the toilet.  Very interesting cultural differences. We went to lunch at a restaurant that was included in our tour for the day.  We also got a short tour of how they make these one type of jars.  Then we ate lunch.  They brought out a variety of foods and put it on the center of the table that had a table that turned so everyone at the table could reach the food.  So it was kind of like eating at a buffet. 
After lunch we drove to the Great Wall.  It was amazing because as we got closer to the Great Wall  we saw mountains but due to the smog we weren't able to see the mountains from a distance.  We were dropped off at a certain point and we could climb from there.  We climbed up part of the way to the 2nd tower.  Well, for one it was very warm and the sun was out so that made it difficult to climb and when I realized how steep it was, I kind of freaked out and decided to come down because of the height.  Ron and another guy from our group did make it up to the 2nd tower.  On our way back to the hotel from the Great Wall, we went past the Olympic area.  We saw the "Water Cube" and "the Bird's Nest".  Our guide told us that the whole area was developed just for the Olympics.  Now pretty much everything sits empty because it's too expensive.  It looked like a little city.
We didn't feel too bad today as far as jet lag or anything.  I know it helped to be out in the sun today and follow a pretty normal schedule. But I started feeling it late this afternoon and felt like I could've slept after we got back from our tour of the Great Wall.  We went with another couple to eat dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe tonight.  It was a fun time.  When we got back we packed some things and got things ready to leave tomorrow.  Tomorrow morning we fly to Marisa's home town of Hangzhou.  This afternoon after we got back to the hotel we got a call from the gal that will be our guide while we're in Hangzhou.  It was really nice for her to touch base with us.  We are the only ones from our group that is going to Hangzhou.  So we'll have the guide to ourselves.  Tomorrow (Sunday) we fly to Hangzhou and get checked into our hotel.  It's pretty much a free day.  So not sure what we'll do,  if we'll hang out in the hotel room and sleep/rest or if we'll go walk around the city. 
Well I think I need to sign off for now.  Sorry for not having any pictures yet.  I am just so tired I'm almost falling asleep as I'm typing this.  So maybe the jet lag is finally hitting me.  And we need to get up about 4:30 in the morning so it's probably best to get some sleep.  Only 2 more days till we meet Marisa!!

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Anonymous said...

Hi Ron and Mary, sounds like you had a full day. Hope you can sleep well tonight. We had thunderstorms last night. God be with you as you continue your journey to Marisa. Love, MOM

Kristi said...

Glad you have found the other families to be friendly! Too bad about the smog at the Great Wall. On our first trip we experienced the same, but on our second we had wonderful views.
If you get to Hangzhou and the weather is nice, take a walk down to the West Lake. It really is beautiful! Can't wait to see your take on Hangzhou.