Beijing Day 4--Friday:
We got a slightly later start this morning and got a chance to talk to Brett and Casey via Skype. I would highly recommend it to anyone who will be traveling with a laptop. We’ve already talked for a few hours and we’ve spent about $3 plus the cost of the headphones $29.99. Does anyone pay for long distance anymore?
First stop, Lama Temple. Once again, beautifully repainted. The Buddha statues were gorgeous. There are several halls of the temple each of them holding buddha and other statues. Some of the most impressive was the hall of 10,000 buddhas which actually houses 9,999 little buddha statues and one really big one, about 58 feet tall! Cecelia told us many things about Buddhism and we saw many, many people burning incense and making offerings. We tossed some yuan in to the vessel that Cecelia said was for parents to make wishes for their children to do well in school. We made a wish that Casey does well on his SAT II’s that he’s taking this Saturday, couldn’t hurt, right? Good luck Casey!
Next stop, the Olympic Village, Bird’s Nest and Water Cube: the Bird’s Nest was nice to see from a distance but certainly not worth the trouble or 4 miles of walking in the freezing wind to go inside. The Bird’s Nest was kind of cool. I’m an Olympics Junkie and loved seeing Michael Phelps win those metals so it was kind of fun to be in the space where that took place. However, if I had it to do over again, I would have gone to the Ming Tombs instead.
After that, we had a light lunch --per Cecelia it was “fast food Chinese”. I had noodles, Bobby had some sort of rice/meat/veggie bowl--yum!!! All our meals are included but the cost for the two of us for lunch would have been like $6!
Next stop, tea demonstration at a tea shop. We learned a lot about tea ie different kinds, now to make it, how to drink it, etc. The tea was fantastic, we bought some. The little store attached had some beautifully painted porcelain tea cups including lids and strainers. I had no idea that tea cups can cost $125 each!!! They also sold these small tea pots (3-4” tall) made of some sort of dark brown pottery I believe for up to 7800 yuan --or about $1150US!!! I was interested in some much less expensive options but decided to wait until we get to Georgiana’s province, Jiangxi, which is renowned for its porcelain.
After that, we went back to the hotel and hung out a bit. I finally figured out a way to get pix on my blog and then we were off to dinner. Again, fantastic, very spicy food in a restaurant with all locals. The only bad thing about the restaurants is the smoking. There seems to be someone smoking almost everywhere we go. We try very hard to avoid it but its tough. It makes me appreciate my generally smoke free life. After dinner, we took one more stroll to the street food area so Bobby could video the experience and then returned to the hotel to pack up for our morning flight.
I wish we could spend a little more time in BJ, I’ve loved it so much but I’m thrilled to be only two days away from meeting Georgiana! In only about 43 hours, I will get to hold her for the first time. I still can’t get my head around the fact that this is real!
Bobby freezing in front of the water cube:
Inside the water cube:
At the tea ceremony demonstration: