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March 25 - 26, 2006
March 25 --

Today was quite the adventure right from the beginning! First, going down to breakfast, Grandma Ann wanted to take the stairs for exercise, so mom and I went with her. Well, apparently, Chinese people don’t use stairs just for fun! We went from the tenth floor and tried to get into the second floor and found out you can only open the door from one side! So we went down farther, thinking there must be a way out, but no….we ended up in the inner hallways of the basement! We had no idea how to get out without sounding the alarm for the emergency exit, so we just kept wandering the halls, looking for some one to help us. We finally found someone, but she didn’t speak English! So grandma, with her communication skills, told her we were looking for the dining room (using hand gestures) and the woman directed us down the hall….but it turned out to be the staff’s cafeteria. So grandma went in and found someone who did speak English and told him we were lost. He showed us through the hallways to the staff elevator. The whole time, I was walking with my head down and one hand over my face out of embarrassment! What a way to start your first morning in China!

After breakfast, the AWAA group (forty some families) divided into two groups and loaded up the buses! Our guide for Beijing’s name was Mandy. She was very nice, but hard to understand! She told us not buy anything from people who were selling things on the streets like postcards and stamps. She said it isn’t safe! Also she said not to give any money to beggars and, “If you want to do something good, adopt another baby!” She said most of them are professional beggars and don’t really need money. It’s so hard to tell them no, though! Especially when they are little children crying! When we told one little boy no, he stopped his crying and moved on to another group. Mandy told us that its like a company. The children work for people. Very sad!

Anyways, our first stop was Tiananmen Square. It was huge and filled with people! It’s so strange to be in a big crowd of people and not be able to understand what they are saying. It scared me a little bit! After Tiananmen Square we went into the Forbidden City! It was huge….but it all kind of looked the same! We weren’t able to see a lot of the palace because it was under renovation. We did see the wing of the palace were the emperor apparently kept his concubines, which seems to be very important to the Chinese! She talked a lot about specific famous concubines from many years ago. It was definitely interesting!

Our next stop was lunch. Our very first real Chinese meal….I hardly ate a thing! Really the only thing I HAVE eaten in the last 24 hours besides a western’ish breakfast is rice! Not exactly very filling!!! But I’m getting used to it, I guess. I just have to remember to pack extra Nutrigrain Bar tomorrow!

After lunch we went the Pearl Shop. A lady showed us a fresh water oyster and how many pearls it has inside. She told us how to find real pearls and told us about the different colors and such. Then she let us shop! I bought a necklace, a matching bracelet and some earrings and spent a little more than I intended to, but oh well! This may be my only time coming to China, so it was okay!

Next we went to the summer palace. It was very beautiful there! Many trees and a big lake (which actually looked like Lake Ewana water, but was still pretty)! The best part of it was seeing the marble boat! It was so pretty! It had a few stained-glass windows and very intricate carvings on it! It was amazing!

Finally, we went to the silk factory! That was very cool! The showed us how they unwrapped the silk cocoons and made silk quilts and such! It was really neat! Then, of course, we shopped for silk things! We bought a little dress for Sophie! I’m excited for her to wear it! I wanted to get a Chinese silk dress, but apparently, the Chinese women and American are built much differently…..in particular, American women are taller and Chinese women have no hips! So I just got a shirt instead! :D

It was a very busy day and went very quickly! It definitely left me with no energy! Well, that about does it for now! Tomorrow, church, the Jade factory, and the Great Wall!


March 26 --

Our second day in China today, and I am soooooo tired! Another busy day! We started out by accidentally misplacing a family from our group! Fortunately we left them at the hotel and the other bus hadn’t left yet, so they were found quickly! We then went to a church service specifically for non-Chinese! You had to have a foreign passport to get into the service. Was a little sad! It was a very good service, though! The worship service was very neat, hearing a bunch of people with all different kinds of accents sing praise songs….I started to cry several times, it was so beautiful! The youth pastor spoke! He did his message on worship. He talked about how true worship is having a humble spirit and not being prideful. It definitely hit home with me!

After the service we visited the Jade factory. It was kind of neat….not my favorite, but it had some cool things. They told us how to find good jade and about the different classes of jade and what different carved statues meant and such….Every thing in that store was very expensive! There was a ship statue that they were trying to sell for thirty-four thousand American dollars! Craziness!

After that, we went to lunch….This one wasn’t quite so bad! I was able to eat the rice, AND snow peas AND fried peanuts! ;) Meal times are always interesting! I’m guessing I will probably be a lot thinner by the time we’re out of China!

After lunch, we drove out into the mountains and went to the Great Wall! That was incredible! It was definitely different than I expected…..actually, I’m not quite sure WHAT I expected. It was very steep, and the steps were very uneven. I was tired very quickly! I only went to the second tower. A lot of people only went to the second tower, in fact. Mom and a few others went all the way to the top, though! I’m glad I didn’t, cuz on the way back down, my legs were pretty shaky, and that was just from climbing to two levels! The top was another two or three and I think I never would have made it back down again alive if I had gone any further…..or perhaps I’m just being dramatic…..I haven’t decided yet!

Next, of course, we went to eat again! And once again, I ate very little. I had, of course, rice, and a little fried bread ball that you dipped in a sweet, glaze/frosting. It was basically the equivalent of an American Krispy Crème! It was amazing! I also had some pork, but only because my dad said if I ate a little bit of it, he’d let me order a pizza back at the hotel.

When we came back to the hotel, Dad and Mom went to visit with some shirt tail relatives, Jon and Cyndi Davis who Pastor a church here in Beijing (www.bicf.org), while Kevin and Jennifer Gordon and I went to a Pizza Hut! It was a beautiful experience to have American food!!! Anyways, It has been a very eventful day, and I’m very tired, so I’m going to stop writing now! We have a busy, exciting day planned for tomorrow! We’ll be leaving Beijing early in the morning for the Hubei province. We’ll check into the hotel, do a little paperwork (or, my parents will do a little paperwork), and then, at 4 p.m., guess what!?!………….I’M GETTING MY LITTLE SISTER!!!! I’M sooooo excited!!!! God is very good to us!!!! Oh my goodness….I’m a little overwhelmed!!! Hmmm…..but anyways, I gotta go to bed!!! Miss you all so very much (but I’m very glad and blessed to be here!)- Lindsey Kae
Tiananmen Square
Lindsey and the dragon
Paul at the start of the great wall.
Inside Forbidden City
Laura, Jeanette and Beth all made it to the top!