Monday, September 01, 2008

September 1st, 2007 was a busy day for us in Beijing. We had heard about all the others who had gone before us, but now it was our turn to see all of the interesting, historical and architectural beauty that Beijing had to offer. It was as amazing as you hear - we couldn't believe we were finally in China!
We woke early, which wasn't difficult with the time change and all the excitement in our group. Our travel group consisted of seven families, all adopting girls with special needs and one 13 year old (gorgeous, darling girl!) and we all got along wonderfully - it was hard to contain the energy and anxiousness! Our first stop was Tienanmen Square - and then the Forbidden City; the square was beyond huge and what sticks out (besides the whole background and sadness that happened there ) where a few things.

First of all, it was our first encounter with split pants. A little boy walking with his family just squatted and...there it went! Right in public and his family actually looked proud! We gave each other another one of those looks... And, the other is my obsession with finding and then buying a parasol, Chinese painted umbrella! I had seen a tourist walking around with one and I had to have it! I had everyone in my group look out for the seller - and finally I spotted them; however we were in the middle of taking our group photo. . . I was so afraid they would leave that I kept my eyes glued on them the entire time (I get like this when I really, really need - um, want something). I did get that parasol and used it to block the hot sun while in the Forbidden City; and now it hangs from the ceiling in Mia's room (daddy attached some invisible wire and it looks perfect!).

I'm eyeing the umbrella's!

The next thing that I remember is my first squatty potty experience - worse than I thought -and then I forgot one of my rolls of toilet paper!! What to wipe with? I had a choice, use my hand or drip dry ~ you can guess which way I went!

After the incredible Forbidden City we walked back to our bus and went for lunch. This place was attached to a cloisonne' factory ~ after eating an interesting lunch off a lazy susan, with the teeny tiny plates ~ we shopped! We were like kids in a candy store. We wanted to get something meaningful and special and it was very hard to make a decision! We are thrilled with our vase and have it on the mantel in our family room. It has an image of a dragon and a phoenix; which means happy family :) We did get many other items for Mia as she grows up and some gifts - what fun!

Next stop: The Great Wall!

This was one of the most amazing experiences ever! I can just close my eyes and feel myself there again - I remember as we all walked off the bus, our guide told us she would be staying by the buses and we were on our own. . . Ed and I started out together, and after this photo we ventured up The Great Wall of China together; however, I came down alone! It was hard! The steps were steep and uneven and my heart was beating so fast! I knew tomorrow we would meet our daughter and I was afraid I'd be in real bad shape if I continued on ~
Ed however, continued on and said he "followed" our travel mates (David & Michelle, pictured with him above) up and up and up. He said his legs would get shaky and they thought of stopping but would keep going. They passed two different shirt vendors on their way up and they all bought a "I climbed the Great Wall..." t-shirt (they should have just got one for me too!!). They all stopped when they reached the highest point, at the tower ~ he said from there you could go east or west, but there was no more going up! They did it!
David took this picture inside that tower!


This picture just makes me dizzy!

During this time I remember sitting at a point on the Great Wall, squinting my eyes trying to see if he was finally coming down ~ some of my travel mates sat with me and one by one as their significant other came down, they went back to the bus. I was still waiting and finally caught a glimpse of them! David and Michelle and Ed were "hero's", as the people who are able to climb high up are called!

Once back at the hotel we were on our own for dinner ~ we walked down the block for some Pizz* Hut and then packed. The next day we would say good-bye to some of our group and we'd fly to our daughters provinces! We were thrilled that Michelle & David would be with us!

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