Beijing, China

IMG_5876Day 4:  It’s our first day in Beijing, temp is below 0 Celsius.  We were unprepared for the cold and so resorted to layering pajama pants under our jeans and filling water bottles with boiling water to hold on our chests as we waited around for taxis.  I bought a ridiculous faux fur hat for 35 Kuai ($5 U.S.) on the side of the road.  Best 5 bucks ever spent.

We spent the morning seeing all of the big Beijing attractions:  Tiananmen’s Square, Mao’s embalmed body, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven.

On the way to lunch we stumbled upon the largest ice rink any of us had ever seen.  It was a beautiful scene with the traditional Chinese architecture in the background, people ice skating, and the red and yellow Chinese New Year decorations overhead.

I love the communal aspect of meals here- a pot of tea to be shared, meals done “family style,”  eaten slowly and thoughtfully with chop sticks.  That’s all for this frigid 4th day.

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Tiananmen Square (Protests of 1989)

Photo by Joe

Photo by Joe

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The Forbidden City (South Gate)

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Ancient tree inside the Forbidden City

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Temple of Heaven

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IMG_6131Day 5: Today we put both feet on the Great Wall of China.  It amounts to over 5,000 miles long with all of its branches.  The manpower and ingenuity required for such a project is impossible to wrap my head around.  “Can you believe we are standing on the Great Wall of China?,” I said to Chris no less than 10 times.

After a bumpy bus ride, then 55 minute taxi ride in Beijing rush hour traffic, we set out for a traditional tea tasting followed by Peking duck, a Beijing delicacy a la Rick Nafis.  On our way to dinner we walked past food stands selling Chinese delicacies, our favorites being: scorpions, tarantulas, sea horses, worms, snakes, chicken hearts, chicken heads, and starfish.  None of us were feeling all that adventurous.  And that’s all for this very Great 5th day.  Bangkok (and 90 degree weather) tomorrow!

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