Friday, July 21, 2006

July 21--Beijing

Today was another great day in Beijing. For the first time since we arrived, we saw the sky. The air pollution here keeps the sky hidden most days. We drove an hour and a half to the Great Wall. The landscape around the wall is beautiful and the weather was perfect--apparently most of China thought so also. The wall was very crowded and has a series of narrow tunnels that are effective bottlenecks. The people had no qualms about pushing and Adam said one elderly woman used her cane to leverage her way through the crowd. The wall is incredibly steep and the stairs vary widely in height. It gives us a whole new appreciation for Lyle's partner, Jeff's Great Wall Marathon!

Once again, the kids were photo magnets. Lyle finally waved people away so they could keep moving. We were supposed to meet our guide back down at the bottom at a certain time, but our trip down was taking longer than expected and we decided to take the tobbogan track ride to save time. These cars would make even the most suspect state fair look very safe. Anyway, we made it down in one piece, already 20 minutes late to meet our guide. Unfortunately, the ride dropped us off in an unfamiliar location, and we just followed the crowd hoping it would take us back to where we needed to go. We started to run, worrying that we'd miss our guide, and several determined salespeople jogged behind us yelling, "Hello! Hello! Too long you go! We have ride!" We didn't want any more "Shortcuts", so we pressed onward. Madeline was getting a side cramp, so Lyle put her on his shoulders which caused even more of a crowd as photographers came out from everywhere. Thankfully, we found our guide and headed to lunch and a pearl factory.

In the afternoon we went to the emperor's Summer Palace where we took a ferry boat ride and met some fellow Americans--we've actually met very few. Once again, the kids were asked for many photos. Madeline's face will grace many a Chinese scrapbook. We'll call this photo, "Those darn papparrazzi!"

We had Peking duck tonight for dinner and once again, we came back to the hotel totally exhausted. It doesn't help matters that we're all waking up at 2 A.M. Tomorrow we'll visit the Temple of Heaven and then head to the airport for our flight to Nanning! In Nanning we'll meet up with the others from our adoption group and then meet the babies the next day! It's good that we've been kept so busy because it keeps the nerves at bay!

Abby, we hope you're being a good girl for Granny! We love you! From, Mom, Dad, Adam and Madeline

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