This is going to be a short post, as I'm tired!! We had a full day. Started off at Tiananmen Square, the The Forbidden City (now known as the Palace Museum), then lunch at a Peking Duck restaurant. We then took a separate tour of a Hutong which is a very old part of Beijing that is disappearing with the building of high rises. We took a pedi-cab tour and then stopped at a family's home for tea. We sat in his living room and asked him questions about China and cultural differences, etc. His family has lived in the hutong since 1936 and he is the youngest of six children. He slowed us old photos "taken with a Kodak" of his siblings playing as children. We had a nice discussion with our guide about the One-Child Policy and her thoughts. She said people support the policy since it is better to have one child that can be provided an education and future rather than two and not being able to do that due to cost. We shopped and haggled a bit then hurried back to the hotel to turn around and go to the Acrobatics show. I kept dozing off during the show, that I think I have whiplash from jerking my head back so much. I'm so tired right now, I'm skipping dinner. Marcia and Monica went to the market for snacks tomorrow. We start at 8:45 for The Great Wall and the Summer Palace. We'll get back at 5:30pm, so will have a chance to blog more and call home...oops, 5:30am...maybe not. We should be driving by the Olypmic venues on the way back to the hotel, so can get pictures. We probably won't be able to park though as they are getting ready for the ParaOlympcis. We'll be packing for our flight the next day since we leave at 8:30am. Our guide, Catherine will be travelling with us down to Guangzhou, so she'll be able to help us negotiate the flight, luggage, etc. She has been a wonderful guide and was able to arrange the tour to the hutong for us with another guide, Grace. I forgot to mention this involved a taxi ride which was an interesting experience. Not as scary as I expected, but still interesting as the bikes, buses, cars, taxis and pedestrians orchestrate the organized chaos without batting an eyelash.
The first photo is one of a little boy wearing split pants. We saw a handful of these today at The Forbidden City. There is one family in our group with three boys, aged 4, 6, and 8. They were in front of us on the long flight over. These kids have got to be the most laid-back, well behaved kids. Other than a little siblings rivalry over who gets to sit by the window during landing, they've been real troopers. The funny thing is their "rockstar" status. All three have blond hair, and they must have been asked to have their picture taken 3-4 times while touring today. Marcia was even asked to have her picture taken with a little girl...she loved it!!
My best news of the day is that we all received some detailed information on our babies. Our agency sent questions to the SWI to have the nannies answer. They gave the name of the formula and cereal she's been on and the other foods she's been eating. She's eating apple sauce, banana sauce, egg, meat broth, sliced meat (interesting!) and congee. There's something listed as "haw slices" and I asked my guide what it was. She wasn't sure, but thinks it is given to "improve appetite". I had a good laugh at that one! Must be working!! Her nickname is GuoGuo (pronouced gwaw,gwaw). She likes toys that make sound and playing hide and seek with the adults. She cries when she sees a stranger in a strange place (not sure what this means, as I don't think she leaves the orphanage). She has not had any serious illnesses and is in good physical condition.
That's all for now...off to bed!
As you can see, I've updated this post a bit. Marcia and I have been awake since 4:30am. I'm still working on thank-notes and sent a few out yestereday. You'll get them in two months!
Tips for those waiting to travel: I'll write this as its fresh in my mind.
1) I'm glad I brought the laptop.
2) I wish I had thrown in more granola bars, snacks in my bag. You don't always have a chance to get to a grocery store at first and it's nice to have those while touring and at 4:30 in the morning.
3) If you have room, pack a smaller backpack for touring. I've been carrying my big one, and while okay, it is big. I look like the total tourist geek, but I don't care. Even a fanny pack would have been nice. I know the horror of a fanny pack!!
4) Do not stuff creamer packets in your pockets while going through the airport.
5) Pack some Crystal Light individual packets as drinking plain water gets old.
6) Get out of the hotel and see stuff.
That's if for now!