Cole & SK slept well last night. I woke up around 4 and couldn’t go back to sleep. Knowing what the breakfast buffet has in store for us, we opted for our Body for Life bars (which are going fast). We met in the hotel lobby at 8:30 and headed for the church service. It is held in a large theatre and they offer services in several different languages, but you must have a foreign passport to get thru the doors. Even our guides couldn’t enter the service. We sang praise and worship songs and listened to a former actor/preacher from Dallas. It made me miss Morningview! We then headed back to the hotel and had 30 min to pack our luggage and bring it down to the lobby so they could take it to the airport for us since we are leaving tonight for Changsha, Hunan.
We headed for Tiananmen Square. It was HUGE! Since their National Day is soon it is decorated with many flowers. They have all their official military/government celebrations/expositions. While here Cole was approached by about 3-4 different groups to have their picture taken. Sk and I and two girls ask to have theirs taken with us. It amuses me all the stairs we get. Cole usually has no problem telling the people “NO” who follow you around trying to sell you a souvenir ( you wouldn’t believe how persistent they are), but a man came up selling flags in a wheel chair and Cole couldn’t stand it. He was just going to give him the money, but he gave us a cute Chinese kite. It looks fragile, so I don’t know if it will survive the trip. I’m trying to wait until our last destination to purchase souvenirs since we can barely pull our luggage as it is.
We had lunch in a restaurant in the same building as the museum. Surprise….It was traditional Chinese food, again. Bach home we would never eat the same type of food twice in one week, but the Chinese seem to, and it looks like we will too while we are here. More sticky rice please!
The Summer Palace was our next stop. It was massive! Not bad for a summer home. I can’t get over the detail in their architecture. The murals are beautiful and each one is different. It was very foggy, but the breeze felt great! We had a boat ride that took us back to the entrance since we needed to head for the airport soon. In one area we saw different tour options that ranged from 4 hrs, to half or full day. We only got the 1 1/2 hour version, but I was so tired that I could hardly stand up. The majority of the group would have liiked to just sit down for a while, but there was no sympathy.
One thing that I really miss about the US disrespect for women. The Chinese obviously heard of is “ladies first”. At the hotel I had been waiting at the elevator for about 5 min with our luggage. I was standing off to the side so those on the elevator would have room to get off, but this man pushed right past me (and the other 4-5 people who were patiently waiting) and stood right in the doorway. Later, standing in the middle of a packed elevator, I was pushed out of the way by the man in the back corner so that he could get out first. The ladies are learning how to be more aggressive. They also do not seem to understand the concept off waiting in line. While in line at the bathroom, boat ride, etc. they just cut right in front of you or walk right into the stall; as soon as the door opens they come out of nowhere and slip in in front of you. I found this shocking at first since the Chinese culture is known for their respect; I guess our definitions are just different.
Our last stop was the Pearl Factory. We were given a short demonstration and then followed around & pressured to buy. Again, this factory was government owned and they guaranteed best quality and “fair” price. Nice little thing the government has going with the tour groups 🙂
Finally we were off to the airport!!! One family’s luggage still has not made it. They had to go buy another set of clothes since in their carry-on they had only packed gift and things for their baby. He is tall and bigger than the Chinese people so all he could find were man capris. We have laughed all day. They have been great about it. We also have one family who left their home on Wednesday and still have not arrived. One of our guides stayed behind because they are supposed to arrive in Beijing latter tonight and hopefully make it to Changsha very late or first thing Monday morning, since we get our children at 11.
The flight was painful since we were soooo tired. Cole elbowed the man beside him when he jerked in his sleep. You should have seen the food we were served. I still have no idea what it was. No supper for us. After a 2 1/2 hour flight we finally arrived in Hunan and loaded on the bus for another 40 min. ride to the hotel.
This hotel is much nicer than the first, but still not equivalent to US. I’m just happy because the computer works here. THANKS JASON FOR ALL THE COMPUTER HELP!