Friday, January 1, 2010
Happy New Year! Today was our first full day in China. We were so tired last night when the entire city rang in the New Year here we slept right through it. We feel lucky we slept the entire night and now we are on a good sleeping schedule. We are here with 3 other families adopting through our agency, and are having a good time getting to know everyone. This morning we had a great breakfast at our hotel, some of the funny things we noticed is our "western" ideas of what is considered breakfast food. Pancakes, eggs, bacon, cereal, fruit. Our buffet had all of these items, but also had every other kind of food you would eat for lunch or dinner. I also had a server ask me to fill out a form about her service, she stood over me the entire time and watched what I wrote. I of course put excellent service with her watching. It was a little awkward.
We went to the Forbidden City today, it was so beautiful and interesting. We have several pictures, but because we have a slow connection, we are limited on what we will share now. Some of the history that we enjoyed learning about include a story about the ground we were walking on. It was stones , and the stones were 15 layers deep, to prevent their enemies from attacking by digging under the city and coming up through the dirt. The men were also allowed to enter from the front gates, their women entered through the back. Also, the center gate and stairways were only for the emperor himself to walk on and through. We got to see where the emperors use to live with their concubines. The baby emperors would have their own section of the city and stay with their mother. The mother was always veiled behind a curtain , that curtain was behind the throne where the emperor would sit, and the mother would tell the emperor what to say. ( Things haven't changed much...now we just tell our kids what to text :)
Many Chinese people travel very far to visit, and we quickly realized that some have never seen an American. Many, many, many people stopped us and would get their picture taken with us. It was a little silly. Jeff caught one of them doing this with me. At one point it got to be that we were the bigger attraction than the Forbidden City and we had to just walk away from groups of people standing in line to take a picture with us.
After the Forbidden City we went to a local noodle shop for lunch! FANTASTIC! We enjoyed lamb grilled with cilantro, broccoli, noodles, sweet and sour pork, kung pao chicken...it was family style eating. The funny thing was our plates to eat off were about two inches in diameter. They obviously don't eat the portions we do in the states.
After lunch we did a little local shopping and bartering. We didn't really get much because we have another flight and already paid for our overweight luggage getting here. We are going to wait to shop until we get to the next province.
We then went to Tiananmen Square. It was soooo cold today, we didn't spend much time there. We were glad we got to see it and learn some of the history behind it. When it was built the Russian President sent their best architect to help design the square so you can see that influence in it's design. Also, Mao the leader who's picture is at the square is buried in a crystal coffin on the square and people line up for hours to visit him. It is a pilgrimage for many Chinese to see his body and many sacrifice greatly to get there.
We are now at our hotel, and are getting ready to eat out.
3 days until we meet our daughter!!!