Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Last Tour Day in Beijing

Yet another early morning for a 1-1/2 hour bus ride to the Great Wall. We went to the Badaling section of the wall, which is an area Randy and I haven't been to before. There were TONS of people! We climbed to the first tower and bargained with a peddler - got Emily a little brass certificate that says she climbed the wall. They originally asked $150 yuan - we got it for $10 (about $1.31 U.S.). We were the first from our group to the first tower, and since we only had an hour at the wall, we decided to go back down and do a little shopping (bargaining). We met our group on the way down, and Emily decided to go back up with them.

Our lunch stop was at the Friendship Store, which was also the home of a cloisonne factory. This was very convenient for sales. :-) Lunch was better that most of what we had been having...or maybe I was just really hungry. :-) After lunch, we browsed the aisles and aisles of cloisonne. Even though there was no bargaining at this store, we ended up buying a few small gifts anyway. We even grabbed an ice cream cone on the way out (tasted close to our ice cream at home!).

The next stop was the Summer Palace. Again, tons of people....and again, we were rushed. The palace grounds are huge. Oh to be able to own such a place just for vacations - what a life those emperors had! We rode a dragon boat across the lake before making a mad dash for the hotel.

We were to originally have had about 3 hours to prepare for dinner, but ended up having only 30 minutes. That made it really fun (not) to get rid of the sweat stained clothing and dress for dinner! We somehow managed to take a 2 minute shower though! All of the girls wore their new dresses that BLAS arranged for them...they all looked lovely.

Dinner was at a restaurant that specialized in Peking Duck. Practically every dish on the table was some sort of duck....who knew you could fix duck SO many ways! Our hosts for dinner were very prominent in the adoption world -- the director of BLAS, as well as the Vice-Director of the CCAA. We sat at the table with Cecilia (our BLAS guide in 2002) and the BLAS director. Before we started eating, the director looked at us and said something in Chinese. Cecilia translated for us and said that he specifically wanted her to be our guide on our next adoption trip (Randy had told him what a good job she did when we were there in '02). Cecilia does the planning now though, and not the adoption group guiding, but said she would be happy to be our guide when we return.

After several duck dishes, we thought the meal was almost over...but we had a surprise coming! Two chefs walked in with trays of the whole ducks! They proceeded to carve and chop away at the ducks and presented them to our tables. The BLAS director then showed us how to wrap the meat into a little burrito shape and eat it.

After dinner, everyone took photos of the kids in their Chinese clothing, and then photos of our hosts. BLAS presented all of the kids with a final gift...a pillow that represented one of the 2008 Olympic mascots.

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