Today was our first full day in Beijing. On our drive back to our hotel late this afternoon I just kept saying what a great day it was. We had the best time, the weather was awesome, we learned so much about Chinese culture and just enjoyed ourselves. Our guide Cindy is The.Best!!! She is crazy kind and shares so much information about China and it’s deep, beautiful culture.
Everyone was dead asleep by 8 last night. Josh and I woke up around 4, but the kids slept until 6. We kicked our day off with a yummy breakfast…eggs, bacon, waffles, cereal, fruit, noodles, rice, french fries…hahahahaha, so many many options. I love our busy city view from our hotel…Beijing was waking up.
After breakfast we headed out for the Temple of Heaven. It was a massive area and had gorgeous temples and marble everywhere. One thing we are learning is that everything has meaning or symbolism…even the number of stairs are deliberate sometimes. So much thought was put into the designs, materials, colors, use, etc.
We saw several temples and also enjoyed the huge park area too. The boys would have been thrilled if we’d brought their bikes…tons of open space. Kids we’re playing with kites and riding scooters and bikes. We were able to explore the whole place and even played shuttle cock…aka hackie sack…with a bunch of older men. Back in the day, Josh Kelley played a mean hackie sack. He got out there and showed off some moves. And we all stepped on some Beijing snow together too.
Breaking News: Josh and I have decided we’re going to retire to China. I know some people choose Florida, but not us. All the older, retired people in China live it up. Groups of them dance in the park, yell at the trees, smoke, gamble, play shuttle cock, knit, play chess and just party in general. Yep, China is where it’s at for retirees.
Next up we did a tea tasting ceremony. This was a blast. I don’t even like tea and I loved this. They served us peanuts and showed us how to prepare 5 different teas and we smelled and tasted each one. It was super fun to hear what everyone thought about each tea and what each tea is used for in China.
After our tea tasting we headed to a little local place for lunch. It was family style so each of the 3 families here ordered a couple of dishes and we all shared. We ate noodle soup, pork dumplings, sweet and sour pork, fried rice, beef pancakes, kung pao chicken and wait for it, donkey. The food was out of this world, Solomon ate the donkey and Josh Kelley ate a sichaun peppercorn that made his tongue go numb.
Last part of our day we spent in the Hutong Courtyards. The courtyards use to be associated with the poor or lower-class, but now if you own one it’s incredibly valuable and if you choose to sell it to the government you can become very wealthy. They were simple and so gorgeous. We saw a local artist creating in one of the courtyards and I snagged a beautiful cherry blossom piece he’d painted. Cannot wait to add it to our home.
We road in rickshaws in and through out the little alley ways. Josh and Harper road together and Solomon, Hudson and I road together. Our guy ran into Harper and Josh’s rickshaw not once, but twice. He also almost hit a car to which he yelled, “Oh my gosh.” and then almost hit a lady in her wheelchair. It was hilarious and fun!!! Everyone loved them.
We’re ending our day in our hotel. Josh has already crashed and the kids are semi losing their minds in a delirium and eating chewy Sweetarts. Everyone is exhausted so we’re headed to bed soon. Tomorrow we’re going to The Great Wall of China and The Summer Palace. Only two more full days until we meet our boy. We’re over the moon and enjoying every second of our time here.