Friday, May 18, 2007

Monica and Nathan Are In China (2) -- Beijing!

Monica writes:
Saturday, May 19th, 6 am Beijing time:


I forgot to tell you guys my favorite part of Thursday. We went to a tea tasting and got to try 5 different teas.

Yesterday we had a very long day. We met up with Rocky around 8:30 am and went to see the Spirit Way of the Ming Tombs, this is part of the approach to the tombs and is lined with 36 stone statues of officials, soldiers, animals and mythical beasts. We did not get to see the actual tomb, but we took a group photo in front of Mao's Elephant.

We climbed The Great Wall, at least part of it, Nathan was amazing and went much further up than most of us. Mao said that you are not a hero until you have climbed the Great Wall. Well now most of our group are HEROES!

We went to the Jade factory and Cloisonne Factory. The Jade factory was a little dangerous, let's just say we pulled out the old credit card. They showed us how to tell real jade from the fake and we saw how they cut, carved, polished the jade. We also learned there are several different colors of jade in addition to the many shades of green we think of, white and purple. To the Chinese people Jade is as valuable as diamonds. There is a tradition of the Mother giving her daughter a jade bangle (bracelet) on her wedding day. This bangle is passed down from generation to generation. So you now see my need to pull out the old credit card :). The Cloisonne Factory was also very interesting to see how delicate and time consuming the work is. I did good there and only spent some of the money we brought. But I am now thinking that it would have been great to buy more as Christmas gifts.

Last night was the acrobat show and that was amazing and beautiful. I know these young girls and boys go through a very tough training and I can not imagine how they do it.

Today is a slower day, we have the Forbidden City, Tiannamen Men Square, A Hutong tour, boat ride lunch, silk factory (better leave the card at the room) and the Peking Duck dinner.

Oh and the food is getting better and better. Not completely sure what all I ate yesterday but it was yummy. Nathan really enjoyed the fish even if the head was still on it. Plus we had move veggie options so that was nice.

We really are having a lovely time!

photos: group in front of Mao's Elephant, Nathan's view from the Great Wall, and from the acrobat show.