Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sunday, June 24

This is my first entry from China. I am writing from the Far East Youth Hostel where we are staying during our time in Beijing. I hope I am successful because all the prompts and directions are in Chinese. I just try to remember where I pressed keys when I did my practice blog while visiting in Washington state a couple of weeks ago.

Since my arrival at 4:30 am Friday it has been a whirlwind of new sights and adventures. I am really glad we scheduled some down time this afternoon and evening so I can process what has been happening and get started on this blog.

It was really great to see my sister Ruth and her Chinese "son" Daniel walk into the Beijing airport. The first new adventure was driving into Beijing from the airport. Because it was so early, traffic wasn't bad but I have seen some mega traffic since. It was interesting to see the mix of buildings. There are many concrete boxy looking buildings but mixed in are some old neighborhoods, called hutongs, where there are small one story buildings with courtyards and very narrow streets. The hostel is located in one of these areas and it is very interesting to walk through seeing the small shops, living areas, and mix of transportation. On these very narrow streets there are taxis, cars, three wheeled motorized trucks, and bicycles.

The first day Ruth worked on her visa at the Russian Embassy while Daniel and I toured the Forbidden City. It was much bigger than I realized. We would see one impressive palace and then walk past it and there are several more stretching off in the distance. There were lots of tourists from all over the world. We were looking at a stone carving when some soldiers shooed us all away and some dignitaries were whisked in for their own viewing. A ring of bodyguards stood around them and then away they went to the next sight.

We also experienced an internet cafe and ate supper in a park where we could sit on a bench but not walk on the grass. I managed to stay up until 10:00 and then slept very soundly. Jet lag has not been a big problem.

Even though I have only reported on one day I will close and see if this actually posts.

Hooray, you did it. You reminded me of my days in Bejing. It is amazing that the people actually stayed off the lawn. Acutally, not too amazing. It would be amazing in the US. Greet Daniel for me. He is a thoughtful young man. Byrna
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