We left off with Rachel and I in an amazing 5-star hotel room in Beijing, China. We were completely passed out at like 330 in the afternoon, China time (which is about 1130 in the evening in California so cut us a little slack).
As happens when you go to bed ridiculously early, you tend to wake up at ridiculous hours. In this case it was maybe 3 in the morning and Rach and I were wide awake and ready to start our day. Unfortunately China was not ready for us at this hour so we milled around our fantastic 5-star Hotel room for a bit before the sun finally started to peak over the horizon.
Eventually the hotel breakfast opened and we finally had some purpose. We were treated to what would become the first of many fantastic breakfasts. Now if you are from the States and are thinking of your typical scrambled egg, oatmeal, and maybe a waffle maker breakfast buffet, you would be sadly mistaken! The spread here was insane!!! I don’t know if it was just that we were staying in nice hotels or that this is how they do it in China but we had our choice of everything! Were there the classic eggs, sausages, bacon and the like… obviously. But what they also had were dumplings, and fruit and a salad bar to rival any I’ve ever seen. They had yogurts and cereals and a chef prepared to make a custom bowl of good soup (needless to say, Rachel attacked the soup with a vengeance).
I could spend pages describing, in detail, the breakfast served to us but we have much more exciting things to see and places to visit on this trip through China so I regretfully must take you away from the food and into the heart of Beijing and the culture of China.
We left met Jade in the lobby and left the hotel while the sun was still low on the horizon. Today we would travel through the controversially famous Tienanmen Square, the ancient halls of The Forbidden City, and the sparkling coast of the Summer Palace of the Emperors of old.
We arrived at Tienanmen Square in the chilly hours of the morning. The cold was somewhere in the vicinity of zero degrees but it could not diminish the excitement involved with visiting a place with such a storied past as Tienanmen Square. The site of such relatively recent historical events as Mao Zedong proclaiming the new People’s Republic of China from the Gate of Heavenly Peace (which now bears his portrait, repainted annually), the protests of 1989 in which the famous photograph of the unknown student boldly staring down a line of military tanks originates. Between the massive mausoleum and shrine to Chairman Mao, the Monument to the People’s Heroes, the current State Headquarters for the People’s Republic, and the Gate of Heavenly Peace, the place emanated power and influence.
We were broken up into groups (I was the leader of Group 2) and given free time to enjoy the sites. We were told to meet at the Nations Flag in a certain amount of time and if a members of a group was late then the group leader would be forced to sing a song on the bus. Lucky for me, Group 2 was the best and I did not do any singing.
Rachel and I looked around and simply enjoyed being in an inspiring place, looking at foreign architecture, halfway around the world. We had been meeting people in our tour and making good friends to enjoy the next week of Chinese adventures with. So far we were having a blast and the time of our lives.
I didn’t realize how much we did on that first full day in Beijing and, as you know, I am a long winded writer. I am going to have to split this day into two parts. Thank you for reading and stay tuned for Adventures in China – Part 3 where we will enter The Forbidden City and visit the Summer Palace. Tune in to find out if Rachel or I ate any scorpions!