Thursday, July 20, 2006

July 20--Beijing

What an amazing day we had in Beijing! We started with a fun buffet breakfast at our hotel which had everything from noodles to french toast to robin eggs to soup. After breakfast we went to Tiananmen Square. It's humbling to stand in a place where there has been so much turmoil.

You probably can't tell from the picture, but we're sweating buckets. It's really not so very hot, but really humid. Our guide said this is nothing compared with Nanning, where we’ll go Saturday.

We weren't there for more than a couple of minutes before some people asked to have their pictures taken with the kids. Madeline especially seemed to enjoy the fame. Most people were very kind and said, "Your children are very lovely. May I take a picture?" one just grabbed Madeline and started taking pictures. One saleslady rubbed Madeline's face and said to our guide that Madeline was a beautiful Russian girl. We saw other American adults today, but I don't think we saw any American children, hence the Beck kids' celebrity status.

And I thought my last painting project was tough! Everything is so intricate inside the Forbidden City. There were countless rules that needed to followed inside the city and every offense seemed to be punishable by death. You didn't want to tick off the emperor! It was also a good idea to stay on the Dragon Lady's good side.

I figured that turn-around was fair play and asked these adorable school girls if I could get their picture. Their teacher said yes and then she happened to see Madeline over with Lyle and ran and put her in the mix.

Our Mandarin is being put to use and most people seem to understand us. When the kids say absolutely anything in Mandarin, it's greeted with applause and squeals of delight.

At the Forbidden City there was a sign outside the restroom which said, "Five Star Toilet". Apparently Five Stars doesn't even get you toilet paper! Thankfully we'd brought our own in our backpack. We're loving China but are not so thrilled with the squatty potty. On that track, we also saw many toddlers wearing split pants--a look you just don't see in the U.S.

We were the only caucasians in the restaurant where we ate lunch. Everyone openly stared at us while we ate. One woman even put down her chopsticks, turned her chair, and settled in for the show. She found great amusement at my sad chopstick attempts. Finally I asked for a fork and the woman seemed very disappointed and turned her chair around in disgust. Show's over.

We went on a tour of the Hutong district which was very interesting. I can't believe how much people pull on bikes. Really, I've seen old women pulling weights equivalent to household appliances. We visited with a Hutong family and when the mother heard we were adopting a baby she pointed to her teenage daughter, rolled her eyes, and with a laugh said, "How about adopting her?"
We're having some computer issues, so I'm just going to save this. We also toured a silk factory and went to an absolutely amazing acrobatic show. Lyle orded an ice cream treat and made us all laugh whe he said, "Wow, I had no idea you could put raisins in a popsicle!"
The kids are doing great. I feel badly that I hardly have any Adam photos up. As I said, the computer is giving us grief and I'm not able to add any more right now. Both kids have been total troopers and haven't complained once. Even the squatty potties are viewed as an adventure!
Abby, we miss you! The people in China would have LOVED you, but I'm not so sure you would have liked all of the attention, so I think Burley is probably a better place for you to be right now! Only 3 more days until we get your little sister!
Love, Mom, Dad, Adam and Madeline

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