Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The adventure begins....

We arrived in Beijing via United Airlines yesterday. Bill must have terrorist written all over him. In Richmond, they took him off to the side and tested his shoes for explosives. We were offered an upgrade to business class seats from Chicago to Beijing. To say the least, we were spoiled. They gave us pillow, blankets, headsets, etc. We had our on personal tv at our seat. They gave us a 3 course meal and warm towel to wipe our hands. It was amazing. The only problem we had was one time Bill thought the plan was going to fall out of the sky. He said I slept right through it.

When we arrived at the airport and passed through customs, we were unable to find our guide, Joy. However, I did have her cell phone number. Come to find out she was about 10 feet away walking toward us. Our flight was very early and she was right on time. Joy seems very sweet. She even has made reservations for a Kung Fu show that we wanted to see later in the week. She also has set up a driver for us.

We took a taxi to and from the Hard Rock Cafe. You have never feared for your life until you have ridden in a taxi in Beijing!! At one point, I looked over and even Bill had his eyes shut. They do not have seat belts and somehow they find the smallest places to weave in and out of traffic.

Last night, we had a little excitement. Every time we tried to plug in the converter for the laptop the breaker in our room would flip and all the lights went out. When the maintenance worker was up here and tried to plug the power strip into the converter there was a loud pop, a lot of smoke and no lights! Fortunately, we didn't burn down the hotel. We could have just seen those headlines!

Today is very overcast and hazy. It has been sprinkling some. We decided to visit the Temple of Heaven this morning. In 1420 A.D. during the Ming dynasty, the Temple was built to offer sacrifice to Heaven. The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest does not contain one nail. It is all tongue and groove architecture.

After visiting the Temple of Heaven, We went to the Hong Qiao Shichang Market, aka the Pearl Market. That was very interesting. You have to be very persistent at telling the vendors that you do not want something and keep walking. You also have to barter with the vendors. We had a lot of fun doing that.

We also went to a little supermarket down the road from out hotel. It was an experience seeing what all they sell. We decided to get a few drinks and snacks. We also decided to try a few different things. We bought some cookies that they do not have in the U.S. We also bought some Braised Pork Rib Lays and Savory Prawn Lays. We will let you know how those are.

We also took over 300 pictures. We cannot post them all, but I hope you enjoy the ones we are able to post.

Waiting in Chicago to fly to Beijing

Flying Over the North Pole

Flying over the mountains north of Beijing
A Man drawing calligraphy
on the stones at the Temple of Heaven

Entrance to the Temple of Heaven
The Circular Mound Altar

Dragon carve on the Circular Mound Altar

Self taken photo at the Temple of Heaven

The Imperial Vault of Heaven

Cute little girl posing for pictures

Ceiling of the Imperial Vault

Us at the Temple of Heaven

(taken by a very nice Belgian couple)

Gate for Prayer of Good Harvest

The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest

KFC near the Pearl Market


A Momma in Waiting... said...

Ahhhh, you bring back such good memorys! Terry

Gennifer Baker (Alabama) said...

Reading the blog brings tears to my eyes! I am so happy for you both and can't wait to read about your first meeting with Michael!!! Continue to be safe and stay well!!! Love you, Gen