Friday, June 1, 2012

First full day in Beijing

After an awesome breakfast at the hotel we met the other 3 families in our travel group as well as our wonderful guide, Cindy and headed off on the Hutong tour.  We rode in a rickshaw - our poor driver had quite a workout :-)  The  Hutongs are narrow streets or alleys formed by 4 lines with a traditional courtyard in the center.  Many of the hutongs are being demolished to make way for new construction but some have been designated protected areas to preserve this aspect of Chinese cultural history.  We listened to a resident tell how the hutong had remained in his family.  We stopped at a large restaurant for lunch.  We had a room to ourselves.  The center had a lazy susan.  We were able to try pork, chicken, beef, fish, duck, shrimp and many vegetables.  Excellent meal!  After lunch our driver took us for the short drive to Tiananmen Square.  Until you stand there in person you have no idea how large it is.  It covers 109 acres and was created to hold up to 600,000 people.  Mao's Mausoleum is there, China's congress is there as well as the gate to the Forbidden City.

The Forbidden City was the Chinese Imperial palace for over 500 years.  It consists of 980 buildings with 9,999 bays of rooms.  It is very impressive with intricate woodwork and marble.  Like Tiananmen Square, it is built in a rectangle.  We did a lot of walking and the weather was perfect.  We didn't get the rain that was predicted.

We also stopped at a silk factory.  It was very interesting watching the process and it was nice to buy something in silk for Megan and Jack.

Had our first experience of a squatty potty.  Not easy!  Also, most restrooms DO NOT have toilet paper in them so we made sure to take our own.  Using plenty of Germ-X too!

Back to the Hotel at 5 pm for a free evening.  Tomorrow we go to the Great Wall and a Jade Factory, then an acrobatics show in the evening.

Over to Stephen now to load up the pictures.  Warning - picture overload!

Kitchen in hutong


Open courtyard

Stretching a layer of silk to add to quilt

Where we ate a delicious lunch

Our travel group

Duck, anyone?

Tiananamen Square

Heading towards the Forbidden City

Emperor's Palace

Our wonderful guide, Cindy (holding flag)


  1. great photos - keep them coming! nice to see you both looking so relaxed too. will check in again tomorrow :) Cheryl

  2. The photos are super and you both look like just tourists visiting China - meanwhile, you're wishing the time would go faster. Hang in there, Monday's coming. Stay away from anything they say "tastes like chicken", (deep fried rooster claws or raw cuttlefish). Stay well, you're in our prayers daily. Craig, Joan & Jill

  3. These photos are bringing back a lot of pleasant memories!