Thursday, May 4, 2006

Day 3 - Touring Beijing

May 4 Early Thu morning
Last night we went to Beijing Noodles, a local restaurant Tom recommended. I can honestly say it was the most delicious Chinese food I’ve ever eaten. Fabulous!! I had eggplant in fish sauce and garlic snowpeas. I didn’t like my noodles much (yellow bean paste sauce…tasted a bit like old sock..) Then we went to the Kung Fu show which reminded me of a Chinese version of Riverdance. Lots of KungFu moves, very fast and rhythmic or very slow and ballet-like, all telling the story of KungFu. Very exciting show. Then we took a taxi back to our hotel and collapsed. The Great Wall today…I can hardly wait!

Afternoon May 4, or Adventures with Ethel Part 2
I think that I am Ethel and Susan is Lucy in our duo. What a day! We visited a Jade Factory on our way to the Great Wall today and it was wonderful. It was really interesting to see how they carve the jade, and the different colors that exist. Tom told us that the sculpture is a Beijing specialty, so buy any sculptures here and jewelry can be bought anywhere else. It was such a beautiful space. Can you believe the ship sculpture?! I bought Mae a pendant with her zodiac sign (Rooster) which is a traditional thing for a child to wear. When she turns 18, she should wear a Laughing Buddha pendant or a bracelet. I’m going to go for the bracelet for this tradition. They gave us a (fake) pendant of a lock and key as a little token (symbolizing the money they made from us non-bargainers? Heh heh.) Then we were off to the Juyong Pass section of the Great Wall (the Badaling section was going to be too crowded and the Juyong Pass section was more beautiful, said Tom. It was fabulous-what an amazing thing it was. Don and I decided to go up the steep and famous section while Joanie and Susan took the less-scenic but room-to-maneuver section and we met back an hour and a half later. Whew!!! That was a SERIOUS climb! But we made it to the top of our section and rested at the top. The views were breathtaking and only a book can do them justice…I know my pictures can’t capture the majesty of it all. Then we went to lunch and to a closinnaire factory (sp?) Susan isn’t here with the spelling…want to know why? Because I spent 98% of the tour IN THE BATHROOM!!!! Thank heaven they had Western toilets. I’ve been really careful about water so I’m not sure what caused it but, WOW, am I hurting. I got dropped off at the hotel while the others went to the Pearl Market and the Temple of Heaven. I felt much better with the security of a bathroom at hand. And Immodium. Thank you, Susan-probably the one OTC med I didn’t bring. But the adventures of Ethel aren’t over yet! Oh no! I got into the room and found my key didn’t turn on the electricity (you plug your keychain into a slot). So down I went to the front desk, waited for a long time, and was told it was fixed. Back up I went and now the key didn’t work and I couldn’t get in!! Back downstairs and waited a really unreasonable amount of time behind a nice German man and his aunt (he looked exactly like Pat Mason...I think that’s why I was brave enough to speak to him…in German! WOO HOO!) The concierge assured me that it was now fixed but that Housekeeping would help me get in. I went back up and sure enough, I could get in but…are you ready?...the electricity didn’t work! Ahhh!! She went to get the electrician (2nd time he’s been to our room so far) and he fixed it. This whole event took about an hour. So my plan is to order some room service (why am I STILL starving all the time?) and lay low tonight. Tomorrow the Thomas family and I visit Hope Foster Care and then we all fly to Hong Kong in the evening to meet up with the other CCAI families. I really hope I am better by tomorrow. Better now than on Tuesday though!! So long, folks!

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