Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Rest of Beijing: Temple of Heaven, Great Wall, etc

Since snow adds even more beauty to the surroundings, I am making y'all suffer through your 3rd rendition of Adam at the Temple of Heaven and on the Great Wall ;)

As you remember from my amazing post yesterday, it snowed all day we were at the Summer Palace (Sunday). My parents and I were very nervous about going to the Wall and postponed our hike until Tuesday, when th
e trip organizers said it would not be icy. So, Monday, we went to the Temple of Heaven.
Luckily, my dad listened to my advice and decide that flying an American flag kite
during time of worldwide revolution against dictatorships/strong governments in the place where the Chinese army fired on its citizens was a bad idea...and so we flew the kite here. Well, he TRIED to fly the kite, but it didn't quite work. As funny as watching him run through trees dragging a kite on the ground was, it was actually a very sweet moment for all of us as the kite belonged to his mother, who passed away when I was a freshman in high school.

We then went to the Pearl Market, where my mom and I proceeded to buy out a friend of a friend's store. And then we went to CICAMS to hand out candy and cookies to my colleaguesbefore heading to dinner at DaDong for a double date on Valentine's Day. On the way back, we had a classic Chinese subway experience, crammed against each other and the doors the whole time.
Mom couldn't stop cracking up at the situation, and all of the Chinese people around us were smiling--I think having Mom's laughter point out the ridiculousness of their daily commute made everyone happier, as
it's not like they WANT to be on a subway that crowded either!

Then, we went to sleep early to rest up for our 6km hike on the Great Wall. We were PROMISED by the tour company that the Wall was not icy.

Yet, this is what the first staircase on the Wall looked like:
Liars ;) My dad and I weren't so happy, but my mom took about 5 seconds to
metamorphosize into this crazy, gung-ho workout lady (thanks, Lisa!), and she basically ran the whole way, leading our group of people my age. (We slowed her down big time, but we still finished the hike almost an hour before we were supposed to, despite treading carefully over ice patches.)

The wall was beautiful as ever:
And I've learned from Alison the magic of doorway/window pictures, without peopleand with them:
We also reenacted my favorite pic with Alison, when she walked down the stairs and all you saw was her head.
As icy as it was, for the most part, it wasn't so dangerous as they had a man with a stick whose job was to whack out a path. Here he is mid whack:
My mom the hiking Nazi also allowed us to snack near the end. First, we enjoyed Uncle Joe's coffee cake on the wall!Notice how full my cheeks were? I ate 1/2 of the cake in one bite and was like a chipmunk during the picture.

Then we took a picture to put on the hall of fame of our favorite local
restaurant,Teepee's: The caption will read: Great wall? Great salsa!

After we returned to the city, Alison joined us for happy hour, where my mom made the mistake of ordering a "frozen magartia" (margarita) in China...This is what she got:
Then we had a really fun dinner with Sarah, who just returned from India, and our language teacher, Olive.

Our final day in Beijing, we went to Alison's school. It was the most well-decorated school I've ever seen--the pictures don't do the tropical, race-car, and alphabet motifs justice! We watched the cutiepatooties do a choreographied dance to the song that has taken China by storm, which my dad recorded as video but hasn't sent it to us to upload on youtube for your enjoyment (hint hint). (side note, when I went to add a link to the song, called Nobody But You, I saw the video for the first time. Watch it here and imagine 2 year olds doing the choreography in the chorus!!!). And seeing Alison in action teaching is also an incredible experience--so much energy and control of the class! Very impressive.

After we left, we took a taxi to the pearl market to pick up the loot and headed to Carrefour to buy snacks for our trip to Yunnan. My parents walked wide-eyed through the store in what they said was a mass of people but was actually not so crowded (amateurs). They even got to see someone scoop out a fish and whack it on the floor to kill it before buying it! It took me months of shopping there to see that: some people have all the luck!

We then met Alison on the airport shuttle en route to our next adventure!

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