Sunday, September 7, 2008

O-H-I-O on the Great Wall

     10 HOURS LATER!

     We left this morning at 9.  It is now 7:20pm and we just returned.
     We were woken this morning by very loud thunder and pouring rain.  I was so sad because I didn't think we'd get to go to the Great Wall.

     We ate breakfast in the hotel again.  I did much better.  I had a few bites of things I couldn't  stomach.  I had a bite of congee, a bite of fried rice and a bite of cereal.  I can't even eat cereal in China because the milk tastes different and it is warm (or at least warmer).  I did get down 2 whole egg whites and a piece of bread.
     We met our guide in the lobby and we were off to the Great Wall.  It took about an hour to get there.  By the time we were close, the rain had cleared and the temperature was perfect.
     The Great Wall is in a beautiful area with tree lined mountains.  The Great Wall is just as magnificent as I had imagined.  What I didn't imagine was how difficult it would be to climb.           You'd think I'd have a clue because when I run from the basement to the bedrooms upstairs I am sucking wind.  I was really sucking wind and my legs were on fire!  At the beginning of the area we started climbing, it was about a 90 degree angle.  The steps are not even... just to make it a bit more difficult.  Some are as easy as taking a normal step while others were like taking giant step after giant step.  I think we made it to about the 4th tower up.  It got easier as it went up, it wasn't so steep.  Coming down, especially the area that was at a 90 degree angle really jarred my knees.  They hurt tonight.
     After the Great Wall, I was about to eat my own shirt. I was so hungry.  I have hardly had anything to eat and climbing that wall took everything out of me. Good thing we were on our way to lunch.
     We stopped at some place for shopping and eating.  We were able to learn about Cloisonne    I have a lot of appreciation for that art now... never really liked them before today.  
     At lunch,  we had a form of Kung Pao chicken again.  But this time it was really good.  They had also put lots of other things on the table but we didn't touch anything else.  Grace, our guide, had also ordered Sweet and Sour Pork for us.  I don't eat pork.  The rest of the stuff was unrecognizable.  I don't eat what I can't recognize.  She didn't eat with us and wasn't there so we didn't feel bad not eating it.
     After we left that place, we were on our way to the Summer Palace.  Now, it's quite obvious that there are many cultural differences between us and the Chinese.  The food- that's a big one.  I forgot that one of the menu items from the day before was insect heads or something like that.  Personal space among cars, bikes, people and buses is non-existent.  The Chinese are very patient that way.  No one ever seems to get really upset when everyone and everything is converging together.  I really like that about them.  But, the one thing I will never understand is what I saw when we were almost at the Summer Palace.  There was a grassy area with some trees, but it was not an area that was dense with trees.  I could see buildings through the trees, etc... But, I did not expect to see a grown man squatting down taking a poop.  WHAT IN THE WORLD???  He had to have known people could see him.  Have you no shame???    There's nothing else I can say about this so I am just going to move on.
     When we got to the Summer Palace, I think I was going to have to resuscitate Paul when Grace said that the Summer Palace was 4 times as big as the Forbidden City.  But, the Summer Palace was much better than the Forbidden City.  The Summer Palace was beautiful.  It was surrounding by beautiful gardens, flowers, a lake...  We walked around for 2 hours.
     After this, Grace and our driver Trevor (are we supposed to believe these are their real names?) drove us by the Bird's Nest and the Water Cube... very cool to see in person.  It's even more impressive then it looks on TV.
     Close to this Olympic area, Grace took us to learn how to drink tea properly.  Who knew?  It was educational.  We bought some tea.  But, we really only bought the tea because of the free gift that came with the purchase of tea.  Let me explain.  There is also a proper way to prepare tea.  This tea was not made with bags.  It's just the leaves.  So, the water that needs to be poured over the tea should be about 95 degrees.  So, the cute little Chinese girl teaching us about the tea, pulls this little toy boy out of a cup of water.  She poured cold water on his head and nothing happened.  Then she poured the hot water on his head and he peed it out all over the place.  Can you imagine how much Jackson is going to love that?  As if he needs anymore encouragement to pee in places he's not supposed to... but we couldn't resist.
     Our final stop-Grace and Trevor dropped us off at the 'fake market'.  You can buy any name brand you can think of there... I guess it's fake but you could fool me!  But, I didn't buy anything because I was a nervous wreck.  There were girls in pink shirts everywhere yelling at us to buy things.  If they even thought you might be interested they would attack you.  Paul kept saying, "Don't make eye contact, don't make eye contact!"  So, what was the point of being there, we couldn't look.  I had had it.  I knew it was time to leave when I lost Paul for a minute.  I turned around to see him holding a shoe.
     He was carrying the camera bag and this girl puts a Nike shoe on the bag.  He kept trying to give it back to her and she wouldn't take it.  Then she says to him in her broken English, "Take it, it gift."
     So he says, "What am I going to do with one shoe?"
     To which she replies, "You have to buy the other one!"
      I hear him bust a gut, put the shoe down and run for me.  All the while she is yelling, "You can't do that!"
     Seriously, can you see us in China??
     We ate some pizza for dinner and walked back to the hotel.  It is 8:12 pm and Paul is again sawing logs.  Walking for 8 hours will do that to you!
     WELL, TOMORROW IS THE BIG DAY.   We are getting up at 4am to be picked up by Grace and Trevor at 5:20 am.  Our flight is at 7:40 am.  I am not sure what time we get Emme, but I am sure by this time tomorrow night, our little angel will be in our room listening to her daddy snore.  Until then......

P.S.  We will post pictures.  If you can believe it, we forgot our cord to download the pictures onto our computer.   We bought a cord tonight.   So look at this post again so you can see today's pictures of the Great Wall, etc...  Don't worry... no pictures of the pooping man!

P.S.S.  Today was a great day!! Thanks for praying!


Nicole's Mom said...

Oh my , a pooping man.. Thats probably why china has a smell all of its own. Its great to see another Ohio family in china getting their Daughter. I hope the bonding process goes well.

Norma said...

Sounds like you are getting quite the education in international travel.........and enjoying some of it!!
Get a good nights sleep and savour every moment of tomorrow.

gnangle04 said...

I am so glad you had a much better day! What an experience. Bet you'll lose those 15 lbs. you want to lose.
Thanks for all the information, (except the pooping man... could do w/o that!)it really is all interesting... and funny.
I can't wait to see pics and hear about Emme.


Pumpkin Head Baby Co said...

I was beginning to wonder if you were going to share pictures. I can hardly wait to see the pics for tomorrow. How exciting for you both!
My day is day 5 which I think must be your first whole day with her! If it doesn't go well please don't blame me. I will be praying I promise!

Tony and Rett said...

You flat crack me up! I wish, now more than ever, that we had traveled together! I think we could have taken China by storm!

Cannot WAIT to see tomorrow's pics!


Sharla said...

Hi April,

I'm so glad that you're feeling better and eating sounds like you had a wonderful day! And you didn't even mention the smells! Are you getting used to them yet?

I love the way you paint such a wonderful but funny picture of what it is to be a tourist in China! I was just there 6 weeks ago and you're making it all come to life again...and cracking me up in the process!

I will be holding my breath for your next post... Now the part begins when we get to be "utterly amazed" at the work that God is doing!

Hugs and prayers!

Jeremy & Jeni said...

"But, I did not expect to see a grown man squatting down taking a poop. WHAT IN THE WORLD??? He had to have known people could see him. Have you no shame??? There's nothing else I can say about this so I am just going to move on" are cracking me up. I am sorry you are having a rough time, but your stories make me laugh out load!!
What memories you are going to have of picking up Emme!
Can't wait to see pictures of her!!!
Love, Jeni

The Gang's All Here! said...

Wow, you got some serious stuff going on in these posts! I've been packing and trying to squeeze every last minute of time with my kids, so I'm behind the times. Where are you staying in Beijing?

Can't wait for Gotcha Day - maybe next time I take a break from the whirlwind that has become my days, you'll have her in your arms for the world to see ;)

Rachael said...

Wow, a pooping man??? Seriously??? Too funny.... only could happen to the two of you. Ha ha. Thanks for a great laugh! The way you wrote it I could actually HEAR you in my head saying it. Hilarious. Explains some of the smell you are experiencing.

Sooo glad to hear you had a better day. I cannot tell you how happy I was to hear you ate egg whites (protein) Guess it is the mother in me that wants to hear you are eating well. :)

Still praying girlfriend!!! Today is the BIG day. :)
Lots of love,

Chubby Baby Designs said...

As always April, you bring a smile to my face and a laugh to my belly ;) The *free* shoe!!! oh my word I can just see Paul, SO FUNNY!
I can't wait to see pics!
Mom is praying for you on Gotcha Day! Well...she's not the only one :) ((HUGS)) ~Amber