Ni Hao! I am sitting on a very hard bed writing this, and when I say “hard”, I mean like sleeping on the floor hard. This, running around Beijing hitting the hot tourist spots, and the change in time zones, has left us tired. I have to keep reminding myself that today is Christmas Eve- I have lost track of time since we’ve been here. We plan on skyping the kids in the morning to wish them Merry Christmas and catch up with them.
We flew out from Mpls. on Wed- thanks to Marc and Linda for allowing us to stay at their house and for the ride to the airport. We got in around 10:30 that night and while in the security line at the Beijing airport, we met another Bethany couple who is getting their daughter the same day that we are! We are staying at the Cha Ang Hotel and learning about the subtle differences between cities in the US and China. A biggie is that pedestrians DON’T have the right of way here, so you always have to be on the lookout for cars and bikes.
Our first day here included an info meeting with the China Coordinator, Shiyan, and got to know the other families traveling with us. There are only 3 families here in Beijing for this trip, and 2 others meeting us in Guanzhou next week. It’s a small group, but that makes it easier to get to know each other and form attachments with these families. We got brave and went to a local grocery store for snacks and “provisions”, and got our first experience paying with yuan. The store was so different than what I expected- Jingle Bells played over and over on the loudspeaker, which surprised us, and the prices kept us guessing. For example, you could buy a pair of tennis shoes for the same price as a large package of Dove chocolates! So comical. I also got my first taste of China’s version of Diet Coke, and let’s just say that I will be looking forward to having the Real Thing once I get back to the states.
Andersons, Shiyan, Scotts, Loren
That evening, we went to the Beijing Acrobatic Show- it was amazing! Very flexible young girls being bent and tossed, all while holding a stack of bowls on their foot, 5 motorcycles driving fast inside a large metal ball, tumbling and juggling- very entertaining. Wish I had a picture but they were not allowed- however we took video of it and it was fun to rewatch it when we got to our room.
This also gave me my first chance at using a Chinese restroom, or what we affectionately call Squatty Potties. There is a hole in the floor, and you have to squat over it, keeping balanced so that you don’t fall in, and also hold onto the toilet paper that you brought (you DID remember to bring t.p., didn’t you?!) Quite an experience!! Afterwards, we ate at KFC, which vaguely resembles the food at KFC, but with items like Lobster hats, Fish fingers, and other different foods. Their portions are also very small, which was interesting to notice, compared to the American KFC.