Whew! 29 hours after we left our home for the airport we finally landed in Beijing, China. When we booked our flight we had a 1.5 hour layover in Dallas. Unfortunately, as we headed to the airport Wednesday morning we were notified of a 4 hour delay for our flight to Beijing, then a 6 hour delay and ultimately an 8 hour delay. It was quite a long day.
After just a few hours of sleep, we started a busy day of sightseeing in Beijing. Several families adopting through our agency are staying in Beijing for a couple of days before we each head to our respective provinces. Our group spent the morning at the Great Wall, which was amazing. In my mind, however, I envisioned this long, flat wall across the countryside. It was not flat!!!
It was harder going down then going up. One of the things that made it so difficult was the uneven steps. One step would be up almost to my knee while the next was only up to my ankle. The view was amazing though.
Our next stop was a jade factory. It was actually the jade factory that made the 2008 Olympic medals. Jade is apparently very important in Chinese culture. When a child is born they are usually given a jade pendant representing the year the child was born. Over time, as the child grows, the jade turns a darker green. It is also apparently a tradition for a jade bangle to be passed down from generation to generation when a daughter is married.
This was carved completely from jade.
We ate lunch on the second floor of the jade factory. It was family style, which provided a great way to try a variety of food. There was a large glass lazy susan in the middle of the table allowing the entire table to share multiple entrees. We had kung pao chicken, sweet and sour chicken, dumplings and several other wonderful dishes.
Our last stop was a Hutong Lane tour. These are older parts of China with very narrow streets. We were given a tour of one area by riding on richshaw’s.
It’s fascinating to experience and learn about a culture so vastly different from ours. But, it’s also a little intimidating being in a country where the language is so completely different that it’s almost impossible to communicate unless the other person speaks some English.
Tomorrow we head to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. Sunday we will fly to Nanjing and prepare to meet our daughter!