We woke up fairly early and headed out for a very long day of sightseeing and tours. Our first adventure was to take a rickshaw ride through OLD Beijing and experience how the majority of Beijingers live. This is called the Gutong tour which means " alley " in Chinese. The rickshaw allows for easy access through the narrow passage ways Among the houses. While traveling our guide spoke of just how expensive it is to Iive in the city and how valuable it is for a family to have a house rather than an apartment. The average family in China makes $1000 US dollars / month, to live in a 950 square foot apartment in the city costs 1 million dollars . Yes, you read that correctly. However , a home costs about 3 million US dollars. What we found interesting is that a home consists of a central courtyard with four bigger sections branching off from it. The house is shared with multiple family members and the largest section of the house is reserved for the person who makes all the decisions which is usually the patriarch of the family. The house that we visited was occupied an elderly lady ( her husband had passed on ) , her daughter and son in law. The courtyard was visibly full of " mess" but very clean. In fact while we were arriving the daughter was sweeping up the dirt and dust from the fall out. I noticed two guitars in the corner and was interested to see that this sweet lady owned a piano that was located in the main family room. Music is definitely part of their family. She told us that the house had belonged to her grandfather and that they received it from him. She was a retired physics teacher and her son in law was a very experienced artist. The artwork in this house was beautiful and I got a really cool picture of all of his brushes and ink wells. She was a gracious host and allowed all of us to explore her home. It really gave Jordan and I a better perspective on how the Chinese people live and very eye opening. Jordan and I also got a.very good laugh at seeing how the rickshaws were parked because every one of them was BACKED IN ( cue lance and grant ). We took a picture to document that even the Chinese like to have a head start on pulling out of their parking space. My brothers are probably laughing right now since they always give Jordan a hard time about backing in his Tundra. every time.
After the rickshaw tour we headed to the silk factory which was probably my favorite thing we did yesterday. The Chinese silks were amazing and we got to learn all about how the silk worms make the threads of silk, how they are spun through the machine, and then got to see women use that silk to make comforters for beds. I bought one and I am so excited to get it home on our bed. It is going to be a great reminder of our time in Beijing.
Raquel and Alissa have been curious abut the food. Actually girls, it is really delicious. It is very similar to our Chinese food back home. They do present it differently -- like the sweet and sour chicken comes tossed already in the sauce and is surrounded by fresh vegetables. There is a difference when serving fish, bc they serve the head on the platter. I will take a picture of the food and will upload it so y'all can see. After lunch we headed to Tinneman square and that started off being very entertaining. We ( the 26 Americans) were quite a sight. Jordan and I were stopped and asked to pose with a lady and we obliged. So many of them were taken with our group and many many people were stopping to take pictures of us. It was pretty comical to watch, One guy in our group caused quite a bit of stir because of his blonde hair.
Tinneman square and the Forbidden City what to say about this monstrosity of a palace. It was cool for the first 30 minutes, but by the second courtyard but I was pretty tired of it. Sorry history buffs, but it really was the same thing over and over. Basically this is what I took away : the forbidden city has 9,999 1/2 rooms ( there's a story there , you can google it ) , it housed 4 emperors, and 3000 concubines. The emperor slept in a different room each night and could choose which lady he wanted to accompany him. There---- that is the Paige recap . Of course, we had to take a whole 2.5 hrs to walk through the entire thing. We did see the use of split pants while here and that was pretty interesting. For those of you who aren't familiar with china child rearing trends, the babies here wear split pants where there is littérally a split in the pants and a bare bottom is exposed for the child to pee/poop on the street or wherever they want, so we saw lots of babies just using the bathroom wherever they wanted. I also would like to say that the babies here are bundled up like you wouldn't believe and it really gives everyone in the group some insight to the pictures that we hAve of our children. The weather yesterday was chilly but not blistering cold. I had on a jacket, sweater, jeans, and uggs. You would think that these babies were in a blizzard. They had on puffy snow suits, hats, mittens, and snow boots. The ones who could walk were in split pants, puffer jackets, snow shoes, and hats. Very interesting,
After the many miles of walking the forbidden city we All went to an acrobatic show. I thought it was really entertaining and unique And a good way to end our day. We got back to the hotel about 7 and went straight to bed. We were pretty exhausted and had to be up early to fly out of Beijing to Zhengzhou which is the Capitol city of Henan ( Rex's province ).