Saturday, February 16, 2013

Breezing Through Beijing

Oh, Jet Lag.  You're such a joker.  I want to punch you in the face.

We breezed through Beijing today in a total of 9 hours.  It was a great day, and we are loving what we have seen of China so far.  Our tour started at the Great Wall.  One of the coolest things I've seen (and done) in my life.

The section of the wall is just north of Juyong pass.  It was built about 400 years ago during the Ming Dynasty.

It was amazing how steep it was, and I can't even fathom how this thing was built.  It's challenging to climb not only because of the incredible incline, but also because every step is different in height and no stone was level.  It is really a boy's dream I would think.  Miles worked hard to climb and did not want any help as we made our way up.  We made it to the 2nd tower, and my legs were burning.

After the Great Wall, we went to the jade market and took lunch there.  Our group had a guide at the market who taught us all about the jade in its many different forms and colors.  Many areas or provinces in China have some type of specialty, and we learned that Beijing is known for its jade.  Check out this ship!  I forgot what this type of jade this is called, but it's not the translucent kind.  All of the jade is hand carved here, and this ship was really remarkable.

Next we literally took a five minute point and snap look of the Olympic Village.

Then we were off to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square.  You would not believe the number of Chinese people who just walked up to us to take a picture with us (or any white person) throughout the course of this day.  One lady at the Forbidden City just walked up to Miles, put her hands on his shoulders and ushered him over to her family to pose with her children.  Didn't ask us.  Didn't anything.  Just totally bizarre to me.

Unfortunately, this was the first day back to work for everyone following the Chinese New Year, and some places actually closed early today.  Maybe to ease back into things after being off for 2 weeks celebrating all their festivals?  I don't know, but we made it through the first two gates of the Forbidden City, but we were too late once we arrived at the final gate to actually go in.  Grace (our guide) felt terrible, but I think most of us were fine with it since we were all frozen stiff by this 8th hour of our sightseeing adventures.

So instead, we all went to a tea ceremony at a tea house not far from our hotel.  It was really cool actually, and everyone was happy to warm up.

Tomorrow we head out at 5 a.m. for the airport.  We are flying with three of the four other families here whose children are also in orphanages or foster families just outside of Nanchang.  None of the other children come from Lakey's orphanage, but apparently they are all within close proximity of each other.  None of the other three families going to Jiangxi province adopted through the Waiting Child program besides us.  Each of them have waited in the Chinese adoption line for 6.5 years.  So for them, they thought this day would never come. 

I can't believe we are so close to sweet Lakey now.  We will actually arrive at our hotel around 10:30 a.m. and meet her at 2 p.m.  I am terrified about tomorrow if I'm being totally honest.  Terrified for her and what emotions she will feel - mostly grief there is no doubt.  I believe that love and joy will eventually come, but no parent wants to see your child suffer in any way. I'm only comforted in knowing that it will be better for her in the end.  After all, an orphanage is no way for a child to grow up.

Off to bed.  And Jet Lag, if you dare wake me up again at 2 a.m. when I get to sleep until 4 a.m., I'm gonna be one mad momma.

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