Sunday, September 17, 2006

More Photos from Beijing and Hefei

These photos below are a snapshot into our final day in Beijing. As is typical, these photos cannot describe the sights we saw; the vastness of Tian An Men square, the masses of people waiting in line for several hours to walk past Chairman Mao's tomb, the never-ending courtyards in the Forbidden City, the beauty and majesty of the Great Wall, and the pride and jubilation on our kids faces when they'd returned from the top of the mountain. Here is a snapshot, though:

Below, Doug is flying a kite in Tian An Men Square. It's hard to imagine the enormity of this square. This was one of the few spots in the square that had enough open land to fly a kite. Katie, Doug and Sean all bought kites. Lisa bought some gifts from people in the square. Lisa made the mistake at one point of asking a woman how much the thing she was selling was worth. She said 200 RMB. Lisa said "xie xie bu" (thank you, no). The woman then proceeded to walk next to Lisa for about 4 minutes trying to sell the item. Lisa finally broke down and bought the item for about 40 RMB ($5). I won't say what the item was because it will be a gift for someone back home.

Kathy in front of one of the hundreds of beautiful buildings in the Forbidden City. Right after this photo, we noticed that Kathy had been walking around with a bandaid on the seat of her pants. Katie had put it there as a joke earlier in the day. This was a little bit of humor in the middle of our LONG tour of the city.

Linda carrying Katie through the crowds with Jason close behind. All day long, we all kept a close eye on Katie. One reason - she's small and could easily get lost. Another reason is because people wanted their picture taken with her all day long, so we had to keep her clode. One time, when we were sitting, taking a rest, a man walked up to her and yanked her up into his arms so he could get a picture. I didn't see the whole thing, but heard that Kathy (Lisa's mom) sprang into action and got Katie back right quick! It all happened quick and we were all on guard after that.

The best sign we had seen all day! This was the exit sign for the Forbidden City, a tour dad described as torturous. I'm not sure I'd go that far, but . . . did we mention there were about a billion people there and it took about 3 hours to make it through it? After walking through about six massive courtyards (like 3-4 football fields each) surrounded by palace buildings, Ryan asked our guide how many courtyards there were in the City. She said about a hundred. He said, "Do we have to see them all?" We didn't, but it seemed like we did. Did I mention that there were 5 trillion people there?

The Xi'An clay soldiers. Doug said this reminded him of that scene in ET where ET is hiding in the closet amongst all the stuffed animals. This was taken in a cloissonne (sp?) factory on the way to the Great Wall. In the factory, they make and sell beautiful vases, along with other Chinese souvenirs. This is also where we ate lunch.

The Great Wall of China. In a word - Amazing! Here is the Gator bunch before making the big climb up. Notice the wall snaking up the mountain behind us?

this woman stopped and got her picture taken with every member of the family . . . except me.

On the way up the mountain are a series of watch towers where the ground is flat and you can rest. Linda, Lisa and Jerry made it just past the third tower. Don went to the sixth or seventh tower. I think the kids made to the eighth one at the top.

Here are the sweaty and thirsty kids after they got down from the top. Doug and Katie assured me that they yelled Go Gators from the top (by the way, the Gators won 21-20 in Knoxville). It must have been good Kharma.

Climbing down the STEEP wall. See the village below? That's our destination.

Waiting for lunch and swimming in the pool at the hotel in Hefei. Notice the lunch table, where you could just point to the noodle dish you wanted.


At 2:19 PM, Anonymous Ruth Ann Hepler said...

We are really enjoying the narratives and photos! The stories are hilarious! I'm on pins and needles waiting to hear about Zoe. I'm going to be checking the computer every 15 minutes! I prayed for you in church this morning.


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