Saturday, November 30, 2013

Day 94 - The Baking Store!

Day 94 – Baking Store!

We did a video chat with Seth’s family and Kadie’s family and Rachel, Evan and Alisa and CJ for a little while this morning.  Being here in China is hardest around the holidays.  It is amazing to almost be there though through the blessing of technology that we have to talk face to face.

Leo picked us up today for the Children’s class because Gilbert had a wedding to attend.  The class went well.  Zenia wasn’t able to be there either, but they got another woman who teaches English at another university here in Ji’nan and she has a 7 year old daughter who was there also.  Helen had to make sure that she was sitting next to David while we were doing some lessons and singing.  Leo then took us to lunch and brought us home.  He doesn’t speak much English, but he does speak some.

David took a nap and then we rode the bus to Wayne and Libby Clarke’s place.  They took us to a store that has all sorts of baking supplies.  It is a fairly new concept in China to bake and so it is hard to find things like shortening, baking powder, powdered sugar, and brown sugar that is really brown sugar and not just sugar with molasses in it, and measuring cups and things like that.  We were at the store for about 45 minutes just making sure that we had all the things we would love to have to bake with.  They did have a bunch of spices, but the labels were mostly in Chinese so I couldn’t tell if one of them was cloves or not, the only one that I haven’t been able to find here.  Cinnamon is also hard to find, but one of the other BYU teachers found a large supply of it in her apartment and shared some with me.  Wayne and Libby ended up buying a new toaster oven for their apartment, an early Christmas present for Libby from Wayne.  I bought an oven thermometer for mine and that makes me feel more confident with the toaster oven I have.  All the numbers are erased off of it and what is left are in Chinese, so this will be a big help.

We walked back to their place and chatted for a while longer.  Then we took the bus back and stopped at McDonald’s for a quick supper and then came home.  I make three pumpkin pies and one banana cream pie for our BYU Teachers' Potluck Thanksgiving Dinner tomorrow.  

Friday, November 29, 2013

Day 93 - Piano Concert

Day 93 – Piano Concert

David and I both taught today.  My lessons went great.  His did also.  He really enjoys his second class on Friday’s.  They have such a fun personality as a class.  Teachers will know what we mean when we say that.  Each group of students meshes in a particular way and it makes some classes more fun than others. 

After lunch, we went to the post office with one of David’s graduate students so that we could get a box mailed off to home.  I took a nap after we got back.  I think I had too much sugar at the dinner yesterday, more than I have had in a long time here in China, and it kept me awake for a long time last night.  After the nap, it was busy with school work.  David had square dancing kids come at four.  He enough boys and girls for two full squares of dancers.  They all seem to be having a lot of fun with it.  It is also a great way for them to mix and mingle and meet new people and get to know them better.

Allan, the high school boy that David tutors, had invited us to go to a piano concert performed by a Russian pianist this evening.  We ended up having seats front and center.  It was a nice concert.  She played music by Russian and French composers.  Then it was back here to get some more work done.

The Russian pianist, whoever she is...

These children just kept inching up closer and closer.  I think if they thought they could, they would have sat on the stage next to the piano to listen.  I noticed a young girls, probably about 11 years old, sitting close to me that was pounding out a melody on her imaginary piano the same way the Russian pianist was.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Day 92 - Happy Thanksgiving!

Day 92  - Thanksgiving in China

As soon as David left for his classes, I cleaned the kitchen and got ready to make pies!  It was hard to organize everything I needed in this tiny kitchen, but it worked out.  Eva called me about 11:30 and wanted to know if we were going to eat at the canteen today.  I told her I was busy with the pies and she came over and wanted to learn how to make them.  She was here about 10 minutes later and took photos of me making the lemon pie and the pumpkin pies. 

David went to the teacher meeting that they had that Eva usually goes to on Thursday afternoons and presented his power point on teaching methods.  He’s not so sure that they were that interested in it, but more that they wanted to hear an English speaker speak since that is the department that they are in.  He showed a power point on Thanksgiving and when we get to the picture of our family (our LARGE family) they do as much if not more than the students do about the size.  It’s always a fun reaction. 

We went to the canteen to have the Foreign Teachers Thanksgiving Dinner about 5:45.  We were the third ones there.  Wayne and Libby Clarke and one single gentleman were there first.  Because we eat at the canteen, some of the workers recognize us and are very friendly to us.  My pies hadn’t set up like they normally would have, so I wasn’t too happy with them, but they still tasted good.  They needed someone to carve the turkey and I guess I have the most experience there, so that is who carved the turkey.  Monica (one of the workers in the Foreign Teachers Office) wanted to learn how to do it, so she watched for a while and then tried to start on the other turkey.  The skin was a little tough, so she took over mine and I started on that one.  I think she had fun with it. 

Everyone waiting for the turkey to be carved.

Monica and me carving the turkey.  She watched me do about half of the first one and then started in on the second.  We eventually traded birds.  
Still waiting for the turkey to be carved.
Digging in!
The aftermath with people just sitting around talking now.
More of the visiting afterward.

We had to leave a little after 7, so that we could be here for David to tutor Allen.  We got here just as he was coming down the stairs from knocking at our door.  His Mom is worried about drugs in American schools.  We weren’t quite sure what to say except that you can find it in some places and others it is harder to find.  You just have to get to know the right people in the schools to stay away from it.  We hoped that was right.

I had many well wishes sent to me by both text and email from my students wishing me a happy Thanksgiving Day.  They are so cute!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Day 91 - Pumpkin, Pumpkin, Pumpkin!

Day 91

My classes went well today.  David’s did also.  As I was going down the stairs to go to my second class in another building, some of the boys from the first class were in the hall practicing the play that they had written and were going to perform in their English Writing class (taught by a Chinese teacher.  I only do Oral classes).  I talked to them for a minute and then wished them good luck.  I was late for my afternoon class though because I had to get copies for the readers’ theaters we are going to do in the sophomore class.  It just took more time than I had planned for. 

Wayne and Libby Clarke came by with a pumpkin they had bought for me to make pumpkin pie with for the dinner tomorrow.  While I was at class, Ken, a teacher from Scotland that is coming to the Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow dropped off some pumpkin also.  Then Mary, deputy director from the Foreign Teachers Office, said that she would bring me a fresh pumpkin from her sister’s farm tomorrow.  I think I have enough pumpkin now! 

After my class, David and I went to RT Mart and bought all the things that I will need to make the pies for tomorrow.  We had dinner at Gingren Pie.  While we were waiting for a bus to take us there, a young woman who goes to Shandong University spoke to us and shared some of the chocolate that she had just bought with us.  She talked about how she wants to go study at Princeton University someday.  A very lovely young woman!  She got off the bus sooner than we did. 

David had some students from his class come over to rehears a readers’ theater for his class and then went to the China Mobile store with Eva to get things figured out on his cell phone.  Then he had games at the canteen until 5.   

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Days 89 & 90 - Matchmaking and Banana Bread

Day 89

David got to class and realized that he didn’t have his class rolls with him or his water.  I was video chatting with Caleb and family at the time, so I had to break it off with them and take them over to him.  Of course, I get applauded when I get there.  I went back to chatting with Caleb, Bethany and Aleeyah when I get back.  We also had a chance to do Facetime with Rachel.  I worked here on lesson plans and grades.  That is pretty much all we did the rest of the afternoon.  David did have some students signed up to play games at the canteen at 4 p.m., so he went over there for that.  We just had supper here and did more work in the evening.

Day 90 Matchmaking and Banana Bread

I had classes this morning and David was a sweet husband and mopped all the dirty floors!  It was terribly dirty from the Sunday Evening guests, so it is really great to have them clean again.  My classes went well.  We met Eva at the Teacher Restaurant at the canteen and had lunch together.  

I had a Skype meeting with Elise Britton about the Relief Society in Ji’nan.  I sure wish I felt more adequate for this calling.  I don’t know that I have ever felt this way about a calling in the Church.  They all seemed to fall in line so well for me and I just wonder if I am doing all I need to do here.  Time to pray…

Wendy Purnell and Pam Carter were coming to visit teach me and they were taking the Bus 75 here and so David and I went up to the stop to meet them so they could know which stop for sure to get off.  They were a little later than I had hoped they would be and so we didn’t really have time to talk much.  We started walking to our place, but it was time for me to go to the Tower Building for the tour of the museum they have here on campus.  They went home and I hurried on to the tour. 

Wayne, Libby, Stan and Nancy were all there along with some other teachers.  The museum is nice and the tour guide had memorized her lines well, but if we asked a question, she couldn’t answer it because she didn’t know any more English than the memorized lines.  They have some better items than some of the other museums we have been to in China. 

Burial plot of the ancient site they are working on.

They said this was a wine drinking vessel.  Yes, I know it's sideways.

And ancient grinding stone.  Looks Navajo to me!

A piece of pottery from the dig that they have put together.

They used this to haul water 5 km each day for fresh drinking water at the dig site.  The water in the area was contaminated.

Monica, one of the people in charge of the foreign teachers, was talking to me on the tour and said that she had heard some wonderful things about my classes.  She wanted to know if I had been teaching my students to cook.  I laughed and told her about my lesson plan for the day of the banana bread.  I had given the students all a piece of banana bread during the break in the class (they are all two hours long).  After the break, I had a power point on how to make the banana bread.  At the end of the lesson on making banana bread, I gave them a little quiz to see how well they were listening.  It was all quite fun and I guess it really impressed the students… and some administrators.  We are finding that they talk to the students to get their impressions of the teachers and how they are doing.  I guess they think I am doing well.  Monica wanted me to send her the power point.  She wants to make the banana bread!  Yes, I’m smiling!

After the museum, they all came back to our place.  David wasn’t able to go on the tour because he was doing square dance with his students.  He had enough for almost three squares!  They were having fun.  David got an email from one of the boys who had attended and he wanted some information from David about one of the girls there that caught his eye.  He was wondering if David could send him her class information so he can meet here again and get to know her better.  Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match…

With the Clarke’s and the Pace’s here, we all went to the teacher restaurant and order (successfully!) a meal for the six of us.  Before we went, Wayne Clark home taught us and then after the meal, David and Stan went to home teach Kathy Gao and family.  It was a nice successful day.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Day 88 - My Twenty New Children!

Day 88

We woke up to a very rainy morning.  We talked with Seth and Carolyn for a little bit before we left for Church.  We were debating whether to take a taxi or walk to the bus, but it was really wet and a taxi came by just as we walked out the South gate of the campus, so we took that.  Much nicer!

We had four visitors from BYU Psychology Department that are here in Ji’nan for a conference, and it was great to visit with them.  One is a Dr. Peter Chan, who is Chinese, but now works at BYU.  He was very interested in the Skype Church experience.  They were amazed, as we have been, how strong you can feel the Spirit there.  The dinner afterward was a wonderful affair with the extra visitors and lots, and lots of good food again.  Kathy Gao’s husband, Simon came to eat dinner with us also.  It was all so much fun!

We took the bus home because the rain had let up some.  The walk from the bus stop to campus wasn’t bad.  We had been contacted by the leader of the group of students that we had met a few weeks ago at the Hanlin Hotel after Church yesterday and they wanted to come to our place and cook some Chinese food for us and then we could make something American for them. 

We opened the door at about 5 p.m. for them.  They started coming in and kept coming and coming and coming!  In our little place, we had over 20 young adults here!  It was wall to wall!  Then we tried to fit about 10 of us in my little kitchen!  Trying to cook when we were almost tripping over each other was fun!  They were all so polite and when they were done, all the dishes had been washed and the tables cleaned off!  They made about 15 dishes including the dumplings!  It was so fun being with them.  We showed them pictures of our home and family.  They love the family! (P.S. family, you now have 20 new siblings, we just adopted them all!)  They wanted to hear the story of David and me getting to know each other and getting engaged.  They all loved the story.  One boy made all the girls think about what they want in a husband, though.  He did ALL the dishes! 

Some of the gang in my tiny kitchen.  Their favorite thing is to hold up the "peace sign."

Preparing the fish for cooking.  These guys just took over, so I stepped out of the room after showing them where things were and they did a great job!

Starting to eat!  So much food and such a tiny table.  They are used to these things and we all made it work.  The guy standing in the back is "Robin", the teacher of this group.  

Everyone that we could fit in the living room.  There were still a few standing behind me and some in the kitchen.

The last three left in the kitchen to cook the dumplings.  

They love to cook the fish with the head on.  It was a good tasting fish.  The cucumbers in the yellow bowl had the spicy sechuan peppers in it, so David and I had to be careful not to eat more than a few bites.  There was no food left over!  Every last bite was gone!  

I made chocolate chip cookies for them (well, we can’t find chocolate chips here in China, but we substitute M&M’s for it and they turn out just great!).  They had to take pictures of it.  They wanted the recipe.  The only problem they had was trying to find an oven.  One of the girls remembered that there is an oven at their school that they can use, so I think they will be making chocolate chip cookies as soon as they find all the ingredients!  I received a hug from EVERY ONE of them before they left!  Such a fun evening!  We all plan to meet again.  This group gets together to practice their English and they are doing so well!  I don’t think I heard more than one or two words of Chinese all evening.  Not that Chinese is bad, but when you want to learn something, you have to practice!!

Unfortunately, we had to tell them that they had to leave by 8 p.m. because we had a Branch Counsel Meeting tonight.  I’m sure if we hadn’t had that, we would have had more songs on the guitar and all of the cookies would be gone!  As it was, most of them had to leave after just one cookie!

Day 87 - A Little Night Music

Day 87

Gilbert picked us up today and we taught the children’s class.  Little Helen is in love with David and gave him MANY big hugs!  She is so cute!  We had a little trouble with Susan, but Steven was his usual smart self.  We took them outside for the break and threw David’s little blue football around.  They had a great time with that. 

After the class, Gilbert worked on my Chinese with me and David helped Zinia with the guitar.  She had brought hers today and was excited (well, as excited as some Chinese will show it) to have him help her learn some things on it.  Then they drove us to Walmart and we got a few things that we can’t seem to get at RT Mart.  We keep trying to find things that we have to have time just looking around the store and most of the time, we really don’t have time to spend just wandering the store to find things.

David had promised some of his students to play football today, so he left to go play with them.  He only had two boys show up of the twelve or so that had signed up. They were just tossing the ball around and two other boys were watching them and finally they asked if they could get in on it also, so they joined in and had fun. 

The internet was being slow and we needed to go to Uni-Mart and get eggs and bread, so we left about 7:30.  As we passed by the Concert Hall on campus, we noticed that there was something going on, so we went over and peaked in.  They were having a dulcimer concert!  We stood around outside the doors listening, not quite sure if we were allowed to go in, when a young man came out and indicated that we could go in and even showed us to some seats we could sit in.  It was wonderful and amazing!  We stayed there until the end of the concert.  We were the object of several pictures, too.  We finished going to Uni-Mart when it was done.  The internet was behaving better when we got back also.

A dulcimer group of four.

The Grand Finale was twelve dulcimers on the stage at the same time with one guy on the a beat box.
What a  wonderful event it was to stumble into!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Day 86 Observation Day and Chinese Arts

Day 86 – Observation Day

David and I both taught this morning.  Geniel Ballentine came about 8:30 to my first class and observed me teaching.  I was happy with how well things went.  I taught them the basic phonics lesson that I had decided to do with all my classes now.  At the end of the second class, Faith (my class monitor and my protector), came up to me and thanked me for teaching them that.  She said they had never been taught the information about long and short vowels and rules to tell how a word should sound!  All they have ever done it memorize words!  She said how it makes sense for her now.  You could have blown me away.  I knew that they were interested, but I never dreamed it was because I was telling them something so new to their knowledge of English that it may open a few eyes and help them to learn it easier now!  My classes just went super well today and of course success like that makes me happy.

We had a small lunch here then David took his bike over to the bike repairman that sits on Shanda Nan Road and had him put a new tire on.  The other one had cracks in it and looked like it may burst at any time.  He also put on a new pedal and straightened the one that was bent.  It’s not the best bike, but it gets him where he needs to go. 

When he got back, we went to the little market and got some fruits and vegetables that we were totally out of.  David then had a few minutes when we got back to get a quick nap in before he went to the canteen to play games with his students.

I went to the canteen at 4:30 and waited around for the others.  The Clarke’s got there ahead of me and waited upstairs.  I waited outside to see if the others were coming and when the Pace’s got there, I headed up with them.  Those coming for dinner from the Hanlin Hotel were really late and didn’t know which bus to take to get to our campus.  They did get here, but the food was cold and we had to hurry a little to make it to the concert on time.

We got the bus and we met Kathy Hong, her husband, Simon and son, Hanson, outside of the theater for the Shandong Arts College.  They had reserved a whole row of seats for all of us in front of the school official bigwigs.  All the words were in Chinese, but some of the performances transcended words and you got the feeling that they were trying to convey in their works.  It was an enjoyable evening and we were able to catch the last bus back to our campus and made it home in good time. 

Playing traditional Chinese Instruments.  Probably the most beautiful performance all night.

A lute type instrument.

This was an interpretive dance.

The most amazing part of the interpretive dance!

The Choir of retired Arts University personal.  

In front of the mike is Kathy's mother.  She was a professional Chinese opera star in her younger days and sang the solo in this piece.  She still has an amazing voice.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Day 85 - Thursday

Day 85 – Thursday

David left for class and I waited here for the Ballentine’s (our supervisors from BYU) to call so I could lead them to David’s class.  They got here right at 8:30, so I rushed over to get them at the South Gate and lead them there.  We stayed there until 9:30 and then I showed them where Monica’s office was.  They were going to a meeting with the University leaders to talk about issues the BYU teachers have had here and possible solutions to make it easier for us.  I went back to the apartment and got some things done. 

At 12:00, we met at the University Hotel, Xue Ren, and had lunch with the leaders of the Foreign Officers Office and Eva.  The Clarke’s and Stan Pace were there also.  Nancy had to teach, poor lady couldn’t get out early enough to join us.  It was a REALLY nice lunch!  We got some pictures afterward. 

Our lunch group at the hotel.

After the lunch, the Ballentine’s, Clarke’s and Stan all came over here so they could tell us some of the things that the University officials said and also to inspect our apartment.  They are wondering if any of us want to stay another year.  The university really likes us all and would love to have us stay.  No pressure here!  They do need an answer by the Hong Kong meeting at the end of January. 

David had another square dance session at 4.  He had a good group of students out there and they had a lot of fun.  Eva came by shortly after they started and she talked with me for a while about the testing I need to do and about having us stay.  Then we walked over to the canteen and got the meal set up for tomorrow when the other BYU teachers are meeting us here before we go over to enjoy the concert that Kathy Hong’s mother is performing in.  We ate dinner at the canteen and then came back to work.  Dull, aren’t we…

Today's square dance group.

Days 82, 83, 84 - Make-up Class, Ballentine's, and a Coughing Fit

Day 82 – Monday

David and I both had classes this morning.  Mine was to make up the Friday class that I missed by going to Beijing.  They are a class that I click well with most of the students.  They are fun to be around.  I’m glad that I didn’t have to teach more than that because my voice was all froggy and I don’t think it would have held up for another two hours.  I’m doing all I can to get it in better shape for tomorrow, even using some of the Chinese herbal medicine that they use for throats (Lou han guo).

Had to catch up on laundry today, also.  Had Facetime chats with Alisa and Rachel, and since Rachel was at Seth’s, I was able to chat with Seth, Carolyn and their children a little bit also. 

David and I walked down to RT Mart and got some groceries.  Then we rode the bus back and got back to work.

Day 83 – Tuesday

I had classes this morning.  I started coughing during the first hour and had a hard time talking.  A cough drop helped and then one of the students gave me a piece of gum during the break and I got through the rest of the classes. 

David and I met Eva at the Teacher Restaurant in the canteen for lunch.  Had a good visit.  Worked on lessons this afternoon. 

We left for the Hanlin Hotel about 5:30 and got there just after 6.  Jamie and Geniel Ballentine are here from the BYU - CTP program to see how we are doing and we had a dinner with them at the Hanlin Hotel Restaurant.  We visited with Wendy until time to go down to the private dining room that we had reserved for the dinner.  There was TOO much good food and then Wendy had a dessert in their room afterward.  It was a fun visit and we all had a great time.  Caught the bus home.

Day 84 – Wednesday

David and I both had classes today.  Everything went well, except for the coughing fit I got into during the first hour.  I put a cough drop in and it helped, but during the break, one of the boys in the class gave me a stick of gum, knowing it would help.  He gets an “A” for the day!

We had lunch here and then worked until time for my afternoon class.  That went well.  David went to the canteen basement and played games with his students.  He had one girl there that he was talking with and he didn’t recognize her.  He asked which class she was in.  She said, “I’m not in your class.  I just heard about you and I think it is fun to do these things with you!  There was hit pat on the back for the day!  We had dinner here and continued to work this evening.  Now time for bed!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Day 80 – Sunday in Beijing

Day 80 – Sunday in Beijing

We checked out of the hotel and the bus drove us to where the Beijing Branches of the Church meet.  I was missing our little intimate meeting that we have in our Virtual Branch, but it was nice to attend in a more familiar setting also.  It is on the 4th floor of an office building.

The office building where we went to Church.

We got there just as the Sunday School class was starting and so the teacher asked us to introduce ourselves and say where we were from.  After we did that, he decided to dispense with the lesson he had planned and go into some of the history of the Church in China.  What I found most interesting was how they got the space that they are now using for Church. 

At first, they were meeting in homes.  As the Church slowly grew in Beijing, it just didn’t fit anymore and they needed to find some place where they could meet.  They had to get approval to do this from the Chinese government AND from the Church headquarters.  Permission was received from the Chinese government for them to meet and the Church said to look for a place.  They looked around and finally found the 4th floor of an office building that would work.  Negotiations took place and they were able to get the rent down to 18,000 RMB per month, so they sent it to the Church committee.  They came back and said that they wouldn’t pay more than 10,000 RMB.  The people in the building had been very kind, but the negotiations had been hard and the local leaders were wondering how they were going to go back to these people and try and get the rent down that far. 

As they were praying and talking, they got a call from the office owners.  They were looking at the plans the Church had for that fourth floor and thought that some of the tenets of the building might like the configuration of having some of the smaller rooms (classrooms) made available for meetings.  Would they be willing to allow them use those smaller rooms during the week when they weren’t needed and reduce the rent to 10,000 RMB?  I just thrilled to hear this story!
China's World Trade Center.

We were taken from Church to the Silk Market.  David and I found a pizza restaurant and had a pizza.  It was pretty close to regular pizza from the States.  Then we looked around the shops.  The shop people all yell, “Hey Lady, you wanna buy?”  Some grab your arms.  Some follow you a ways.  David really hates it.  We have to learn to ignore them and it is hard because we want to look, and be friendly, but if you give them the slightest nod of acknowledgement, they pull you in and don’t let you go!  We had been looking for some silk shirts for David and one of the couples had just bought some, so we went to the place where they were and got a deal of about $20 a shirt.  Then we wandered some more, just because we didn’t have anything else to do.  Got some pretty good ice cream.  Then we decided it was close enough to the time to meet so we could leave, so we went out to the bus and waited for all the rest to come.

They drove us to the train station where we caught the high-speed train back to Ji’nan.  I really like riding that high speed train.  It gets you where you need to go fairly fast and you don’t have to worry about your ears popping (from the high altitude) and the stops and starts are really smooth.  We got a cab for the ride home and we were glad to be back in Ji’nan.  Beijing was nice and we had really great weather, even though it was cold, and the smog was non-existent for us, and we saw some really wonderful things, but we like Ji’nan!

CCTV building.  China's broadcasting center for TV.  Cool building1

Saturday, November 16, 2013


Day 79

A guy working on a "Family Ball."  They are super cool!
We were on the road by 8:30 this morning.  We had to stop at a jade factory first.  Marvin said that it is one of the places they like to have tourist go to, buy some things and help their economy.  It was interesting to learn what to look for in real jade and not the plastic.  Jade will scratch glass.  

Jade horses!  I need these!

This was for sale for about $68,000 US.

After that, we had about 45 minutes to drive to the Great Wall.  We went to the Badaling site to walk on the restored part of the wall there.  It was pretty cold and windy, but we had beautiful blue skies all day long!  I think the beautiful weather was ordered just for us during this weekend in Beijing!  We didn't even have to wear our masks, except to stay warm!  The wall is amazing and to hear all the stories and history behind it was even more amazing.  We were able to spend about an hour and a half there.  We walked up to what is called the Fourth Tower.  It was pretty high and you can hike to the Eight Tower, which some did, but we were pretty tired by the time we got to the Fourth.  A lot of this wall is so steep that you even have to hang onto the handrail when you are using the steps going up and coming down.  Some of the steep parts don't have steps either and I am glad that there was no rain to make it slippery.  It was just amazing to see the work that went into it and the length that it was.

Our first site of the Great Wall.

The doorway to the Fourth Tower.
The two of us walking on the great wall
It wasn't too crowded today!
Inside the First Gate House
The wind was blowing pretty hard in the Towers.  You were almost glad to be walking out in the wind, rather than standing in the Tower.

We went to a restaurant for lunch that was probably the BEST Chinese food that we had had on any of these tours in China so far.  We also had to go through a tourist trap that was the Cloisonne enamelware that originated in Beijing.  It was beautiful also.

The Summer Palace was next on the tour list for today.  It would have been extremely beautiful during the summer, but it was just as impressive touring it during the fall. We wished that we would have had time and the warmth for a boat ride on the lake connected to the palace.

Buildings that are now turned into shops were once used for various purposes in the Summer Palace.

Boats on the lake you could rent, if you were brave enough to face the cold wind today.

The stone boat, made of marble.  The windows were stained glass and the inside was brightly painted.  It never went out on the lake except to be moored here.

One of the buildings for the servants.

The Marco Polo Bridge from across the way.

One of the scenes painted in the walkway.

Inside of the walkway was very colorfully painted ceilings.

One of the palaces.

The walkway that she would walk on every day.

The was the bedroom of the "Dragon Lady Empress."  She would always have to have a servant taste her food to make sure it wasn't poisoned because she had made so many enemies,

The Golden Archway was used to hand a lantern because the Empress didn't like the dark. 

We hurried from there to the Bird's Nest Olympic site, but with the Beijing traffic, we were crawling along and we had a whole twenty minutes to go see it. That turned out to be okay because it was so cold from the North wind, that we walked as fast as we could to get a quick picture and then walked back just as fast to walk back to get on the bus and start to warm up.

Almost a Full Moon in Beijing.

The Birds Nest Olympic Stadium.

From there it was to dinner so we could experience the famous Peking Duck.  That was fun, but I don't know that it topped the lunch today.

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