Well, it’s 12:30 AM and I am wide awake so I figured I’d try to journal & add photos again, but after a combined total of over 4 hours working on this I am getting very frustrated. Who knows when I will get to post this to the site, but I am writing it none the less. Hopefull our panda phone will be in the lobby when we go down this morning because I need to hear my babies voices.
I just ichatted with Jason (my sweet nephew 🙂 ) and he said my journaling IS posting to the site. For some reason I just can’t see it. He thinks it might just be this hotel, so I hope we have better luck in Hunan beginning Monday night. I will continue to journal & I have emailed my photos to Jason & he is going to try & post them to our site. It is now after 3AM and the alarm is set for 6:15am so I am going to try and make my self sleep. I took Lunesta (sleeping aid) on the plane and when we went to bed last night & it said only to take it when you can devote a full 8 hours to sleep, but both times it only worked for 3 hrs. Cole & SK are both sleeping well, which is surprising since our beds are hard as rocks. No pillow top mattresses here 🙂 still………………….COUNTING IT ALL JOY!!!!
We woke this morning around 6:30 and got ready to head to the breakfast buffet downstairs. It was not your usual pastries, biscuits, grits, etc. There were many unfamiliar meats, rice dishes, brown eggs…so we had buttered toast and grabbed a power bar from our room. We checked in the lobby to see if our Panda Phone had arrived and it had. This phone has a different # that the one I left at home, so call my mom if you need the new one. As soon as we got loaded on the bus I called the kids. Elizabeth thought it was funny that she was getting ready for bed & I had just finished breakfast.
We headed to the Forbidden City first. It is massive and has such beautiful architecture. It’s hard to imagine what it must have been like during the Emperor’s rule. While there, I had a group of Chinese tourists approach me holding their camera out. I thought they wanted me to take a photo for them, but he shook his head no and the women came and stood with me wanting to have their picture taken. As you can see in the pictures, blonde hair is not the norm here. On the way back to the bus I decided to buy a book about the Forbidden City from the people aggressively selling items on the street. I talked her down from 70 Yuan (they were selling them for 60 inside the city) to 50 Yuan (which is equal to about $7 US. I handed her 100 and she gave me 50 in return. I was going to make another purchase from a man who would not take no for an answer, but when I pulled out the 50 I had received as change he began shaking his head no. He led me to our guide and she told me it was not Chinese money. We have no idea what country it is from, for all I know it could be foreign Monopoly money. We all had a good laugh & Rosa, our guide educated us on Chinese money and what it should look like. Fortunately my mistake only came at a cost of about $7 US.
For lunch we headed to a restaurant where on the way in we went thru a work are showing the 6 step process of making the beautiful Chinese vases. It is amazing the time and detail that goes into each piece and gave me an understanding as to why they cost so much. Lunch was served family style, and there was no chicken fried rice ☹ I stuck with white rice and what Cole promised was Kung Pow Chicken. The Row family, who sat with us and are adopting a 5 year old cleft palate/lip little boy, were a little more adventurous in their eating. They actually tried most everything, including the fish served with the head on the plate. We then shopped in the friendship store on the way back to the bus and purchased a few pieces of Chinese clothing.
We headed to the Great Wall next. It was amazing. It’s hard to believe it was made without any machinery. We chose to head up the steeper but shorter route because it provided the best view for taking photos. We had to take several rest breaks, but we were able to make it to the top. The pictures don’t even do it justice. When we made it back down we decided to get some water and rest since our legs felt like Jell-O. The stand where we purchased the water also sold souvenirs and SK had her eye on some sort of Chinese instrument. All you have to do is glance toward an item and they will stick to you like glue trying to sell it. She went from 250 down to 80 claiming last price at each reduction, but Cole would not let her buy it. We won’t be giving away any of the gifts we brought for the orphanage, consulate, notary, etc until we get to Hunan, so we really have no room & we are way over the weight limit. Back on the bus we headed for our Peking Duck Dinner. We were all so tired and really wanted to just go back to the room and sleep, but just settled for a c…