Saturday- First whole day in China! Breakfast at the hotel. Adri asks us what will happen to her if she eats so many noodles?! We are all gonna find out! We eat them by the plateful. Noodles for breakfast, noodles for lunch, noodles for dinner! The breakfast at the Beijing hotel is nice and tasty. We eat normal looking stuff, along with steamed buns (little white steamed rolls), fried noodles, lemon cake (Johnny’s favorite) and rice congee (like cream of rice). Fun!
Off we went to Tienanmen Square and the Forbidden City! The first few steps off the bus Johnny starts crying. He begs to go back to the hotel although the bus has dropped us off for 2 hours! So for the next two hours Husband has to carry Johnny around. The Forbidden City “started to all look alike” as Rob said. Everywhere we looked the same. Now in perfect weather conditions I would’ve actually listened to the nice guide (Rosa) explaining how wondrous everything is, but in FREEZING weather (we estimate it was 20 degrees but we all agreed China 20 degrees is colder than Tulsa 20 degrees) the only thing we wanted was to be indoors. It was so cold that I found myself wanting to buy a cup of hot tea from a stranger that had just whipped out there thermos from home! And we even had on our long johns, our ski jackets donated by friends, and our expensive hats and gloves bought just for this day so that we could ENJOY it. But the cold was bitter! And to top it all off, we realize Rob had FORGOT to put his long johns on under his cheap $7 slicky athletic pants from Target! Ridiculous. This is only the FIRST of many things mommy will forget on this trip. Just keep reading.
Onto lunch at a government certified jade factory we had a tour. They showed us how jade is found in the mountains of China and how it is carved into relics in the showroom. It was amazing. The boys even were impressed and all three kids picked out a jade souvenir (which as I am writing this several days later I can say that Johnny has already broke his). The jade is pretty and it is very Chinesey so we bought some. It is a tradition to buy a jade bracelet to wear and then hand down to your daughter when she is older. Daniel asked me if I wanted to do that. I said I would rather save the money for diapers! The bracelets were around $100-$300 each. Maybe our tradition can be a The Vintage Pearl necklace! : )
Onto the GREAT WALL! At this point, I was fearful of frost bite so I said my plan was to step onto the wall, take a photo, and then retreat to the small snack shop with whoever wanted to go. So after paying no telling what, I did just that. Now I am sure others reading this will think that is pretty sissy of me, however, I cannot explain to you how cold it was that day. At one point one of the kids complained of numb fingers (even they had had their gloves on the whole time) so I was fearful of frostbite. We had our neck turtles on pulled up to our eyeballs. STILL COLD! But we endured to take some great forever cherished photos. Adri, Husband and Rob (with his Chinese underpants on now bought by our driver while we were at the Forbidden City) were brave and stayed on the wall for about 30 more minutes. Meanwhile, me, Rosa, PG, and Johnny were enjoying Chinese hot chocolate at the Great Wall snack shop, located just steps away from the wall. Just as memorable! And we met some nice Italians in there!
Let me take this time to mention the nice family that is traveling with us on our whole trip. The Bensons. They came with their 12 year old son and are adopting a little boy from the same orphanage as Hope and Lily. He has a bilateral cleft palate. That means instead of one separation of the mouth, there is two. He is about 2 and a half years old. They are athletic and do not have small kids in tow. They ventured far on the wall and chose the “hard” side. We will be with them in each city.
After the wall we went for supper and then back to the hotel. The supper was a smorgasbord of strange looking Chinese food. Our kids were so tired Nathan Benson (their 12 year old son) gave Phoebe oreos and she fell asleep at the table uninterested. They are experiencing jet lag a bit more than me, Adri and husband.