Greetings from China! We enjoyed our first day touring Beijing. Well enjoying may not be the right word since it felt like we had to endure because of the extreme cold. Our toes and fingers were numb after the 4 mile trek through the Forbidden City. We did stop for one hot milk tea break to warm ourselves. The steaming cups of tea were terrific hand warmers. The Forbidden City was the palace complex from the Ming to the Qing dynasties from 1420 till 1912. The Forbidden City served as the home of emperors and their households and was the center of Chinese government for about 500 years. The complex has 980 buildings and covers 180 acres. Our CCAI tour guide Jason was knowledgeable about the many buildings and history of this ancient complex. You can see the building details in Conner’s photos.
After the Forbidden City we were able to ride on a rickshaw. A rickshaw is a three wheeled bicycle with a driver in the front and two seat cart in the back. Our group rode in pairs to a local families home to enjoy a traditional lunch. Lunch was yummy and we enjoyed roasted peanuts, chicken and green beans, chicken and celery, glazed chicken legs, meatballs, rice, chicken and onions, hot tea and sprite. We then had the opportunity to hear from the owner of this home. His home has been in his family for 4 generations. His young daughter will inherit it next. If it were to be sold it would be worth 5 million US dollars. The price is because of the age of the homes and their historic value as well as the cost of real estate in the middle of Beijing. Many other homes like his have been demolished to make way for high rise apartment buildings. The interesting thing is that because their is no sewage drains in the individual home courtyards the family must go to a central toilet a few minutes walk down the street. Christian and I bravely went into the public restrooms where there are communal squats potties in one room with no doors. When I walked in, one woman was pulling up her pants and another woman was squatting while scrolling through her smartphone! Quite a dicotomy to be sure! Also the owner of the home raises homing pigeons and shared that one pair of his pigeons was worth $40,000. He has won trophies and top prizes for his pigeons. The top prize is $100,000. Perhaps raising pigeons would be a good investment!
We then made our way by bus back to the hotel for a little nap that was supposed to be thirty minutes and ended up with us all falling asleep from 3:30 pm till 1:00 am, all of us except Conner who is trying to nap right now. We slept right through the planned group dinner and now we are awake and will be until at least 8:30 tonight. Please pray that our internal clocks get set to some new normal. We were able to FaceTime home, do our devotions, have family devotions, blog, edit pictures, watch movies, shower, organize our luggage and relax all before the 6:30 am breakfast! How crazy is that? Since we slept through dinner we had a small pack of gluten free peanut butter crackers to hold us over for the 5 1/2 hour hour wait till breakfast. Crazy schedule to be sure.
Today we are heading to the Great Wall. We are praying the the weather will be smog free so that we can see the wall. It is about a 45 minute upward walk to the top point of the part of the wall we will be going to. After our time at the wall we will enjoy seeing how they make jade and then will enjoy a lunch at the Jade Factory Restaurant. We will go to an acrobat show in the afternoon and then have dinner with some friends Conner made while he was in China a few weeks ago. It will be a full day. Tomorrow we take the bullet train to Sophie’s Province, the Henan Province. We will meet her on Monday morning around 9:30 am our time and 8:30 pm Sunday evening your time. We will try to FaceTime family and take lots of pictures and videos for you all to see. Please pray for us as we prepared to meet our daughter/sister. Please pray that she will understand why we are here and how very much we love her. Thanks for following us on this amazing journey to bring sweet Sophie home.
Mother of 13 and writes this blog.