Saturday, August 4, 2012

Whirlwind Tour of Beijing

For our last full day in China, it was a very full day :).  We started by going to Tiananmen Square.  I know I'm dating myself, but I vividly remember the protests that happened there when I was about 18 years old.  It was an interesting experience to stand there all these years later with the place filled with tourists taking pictures.
Literally right across the street from Tiananmen Square is the Forbidden City.  This is where the Chinese emperor and other royalty lived.  Common folks were not allowed in - hence the name.  The city was built in the 1400s and according to our guide it took 14 years to finish constructing it.
After that, we went to lunch at a restaurant located in jade factory (um, yeah it sure was).  Honestly, it was probably the most bland meal we've had since we've been in China (and that includes the food on the airplanes - which incidently isn't bad on the Chinese airlines we've flown).  We also had a short educational tour about how to tell the difference between real jade and fake jade and also the differences in jade quality.  Very interesting (to me anyway).
After the jade factory, we went to the Great Wall.  Where we accessed the wall, you could go left - which was relatively flat, or right - which was an almost a vertical climb (imagine a slightly inclined ladder).  Holy cow some of those stairs are steep - definitely doesn't meet current building code for risers (or treads) either - sorry, I've worked in engineering my whole professional career, these things occur to me.  Guess which way our group decided to go...
At 4:30 PM we left the Great Wall and drove by the 2008 Beijing Olympic Village.  We saw the 'bird nest' and the 'water cube'.  Very cool architecture.
We're getting ready to head out for dinner tonight and we leave for the airport tomorrow at 1:00 PM.  We'll see you at home :).

Friday, August 3, 2012


I had meant to post these pictures with the last post, but I couldn't get them to upload so here they are in a separate post.  They are all from our trip to Shamian.  One just to give you an idea of the look of the place, another of the boys goofing off for the camera and one of our new son who obviously has a soft spot for the babies just like his older brother :).

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Heading to Beijing (again)

We had our consulate appointment yesterday at 8:30 AM.  It's really no big deal - take an oath on behalf of your adopted child, give the person at the little window some stuff for the file and get your older child fingerprinted (electronically).  Badda-bing done.  Our guide picked up SongSong's visa today and we fly out of Guangzhou to Beijing for some sight-seeing at 10:30 AM tomorrow.  I really like the city of Guangzhou, but I'm ready to leave.  It's been nearly a week of about 100 degree heat with almost 100% humidity.  We're absolutely drenched with sweat every time we walk anywhere (it was actually almost the exact same weather in Chengdu - maybe a few degrees cooler). Tim won't ever just sit in the hotel, so we're always walking somewhere.  The underground mall is about 1/2 a block from our hotel, so I suggested going there today.  He can walk and it's much cooler there than it is on the streets.  I'm just ready to be dry again - although I saw on Yahoo weather that the Beijing forecast is for rain while we're there :-p.  I may have enjoyed both Chengdu and Guangzhou a little more in - say - November to March :-).
Just as a side note, the day we left Beijing on our way to Chengdu (July 21st) they got a major rain storm and there was flooding in (I believe) the Fushan District.  We just missed it (literally by a few hours). The official death toll was 77, but there is speculation that it was much higher and the gov't is not reporting the true numbers.  Please remember the people affected by this tragedy in your prayers.
I'm attaching pictures from right outside our hotel (Hotel Elan) and of the "Tunnel of Guangzhou" aka the entrance to the underground mall.