Wednesday, August 30, 2006

What to do, what to do?

Our travel planning is pretty much over. We'll be flying from Jax to Beijing, Beijing to Hefei and Hefei to Guangzhou. We'll take the train from Guangzhou to Hong Kong, then fly out of Hong Kong back to the U.S.

Logistically, getting all this worked out was a bit of a hassle because of the number of travelers in our group (14 after we get the girls). Needless to say, I've spent A LOT of time on the phone this week - talking to Great Wall (our adoption agency), my sister, my parents, my mother-in-law, and Lawrence at Delight Travel (the travel agency associated with Great Wall).

Since we are arriving in Beijing one day early, one of our big decisions was whether or not to take an additional tour that included the Summer Palace, Giant Pandas, and Temple of the Heavens. We originally wanted to do this, but I learned the tour left the hotel at 8 am and returned at 5 pm. That's a LONG day after flying 20 hours the day before. So we decided not to do the pre-arranged tour.

We're thinking about other options, though, because we would still like to get out and see the city. We're thinking about trying to get to the zoo to see the pandas on our own – are we crazy? Our hotel is apparently right on the subway line, so we should be able to get around Beijing. Of course, we won't know what the hell anything says, so that might be a bit of an adventure. also, I've read a couple of reviews of the zoo, and most say it's really dirty and depressing.

Another option is to take a shorter tour offered by another tour company. The other tour is called a Hutong tour. The hutongs are traditional chinese residences located on ancient city alleys or lanes around the outskirts of the forbidden city. The tour takes you via rickshaw (a bicycle cab) through the hutongs where you visit a kindergarten, climb a tower to watch a drum beating dance at the top, and possibly dine with a family in their home. The link to the tour is here. This would be really neat.

I guess our other option is to just rest, and get ready to tour the Great Wall and Forbidden City the next day. Hmmmmm . . . what to do, what to do?

3 Comments:

At 10:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're so happy to hear about the adoption and wish you the best of luck! Be safe.

(I did take some Chinese but I think I speak at about the 3 year old level!)

-John, Narcissa, Nick & Claudia

 
At 9:08 PM, Blogger Michele said...

I have to chime in here and tell you that the BEST tour that we took in Beijing was the Hutong tour. The kids will LOVE it. It is a lot of fun being driven around in a Rickshaw LOL. It is quite educational as well. I highly recommend it. It is a great tour to do the first day when you are a bit jet lagged because there isn't too much walking involved. It is also only a couple of hours long.
Congratulations on your new baby. She is gorgeous!! I found your sight....I am not sure, but I am enjoying following your journey.

All my best,
Michele, Mom to 2 beautiful Chinese daughters, Emily and Alyssa
www.ourjourneytoalyssa.blogspot.com

 
At 9:44 AM, Blogger Rina & John said...

I think you are making a very smart decision not to go on the additional tour.

We took the tour and it was EXHAUSTING! In addition to the three main attractions they squeeze in a trip to the Government run Pearl Store and to the Silk Factory where you are pretty much pressured to buy something after their presentation.

The Zoo trip turned out to be a very quick in and out visit to the Panda exhibit. Nothing else. We barely saw any pandas as they were sleeping (we traveled in November last year).

I would suggest taking it easy and plan a trip to the pearl market and the zoo. The taxi are very cheap. We split the cab fare with another couple from Jacksonville we traveled with. The driver took us to the market and waited 3 hours for us to come back. He refused to take any money on the way there saying he'd wait for us. We were very surprised but he was there when we went back 3 hours later. I figure he knew we would tip him well.

Good luck, can't wait to see pictures of Zoe in your arms.

Rina

 

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