I arrived in China yesterday around NOON. After we found a place to store our luggage overnight so that we could avoid dragging it all over Beijing, we hopped in a minivan taxi and had it take us to our hotel. The hotel was pretty nice, and we were all long overdue for some hot showers after our 13 hours of flying from Melbourne - Hong Kong - Beijing.
We showered up, dropped of our bags, and headed to the Forbidden Palace and Tianamen's Square. It was amazing to see and, while it was equally amazing in its ridiculous coldness, well worth the time we spent. It's so amazing to be a part of the different cultures and areas across the world. The only unfortunate piece, similar to walking the Smithsonian in D.C. or other landmarks, is that it has all become so commercialized and touristy...we must have seen the exact same kiosk/shopping thing smack dab inbetween the Forbidden Palace and Tianamen's Square. And yes, I threw a shout out for Kenny and his people. For those unfamiliar, the Forbidden Palace is the old area where the emperors and royalty used to live, and this used to be completely off limits to the public, and has now since opened. Amazing architecture.
After this, we hailed some taxis over to a market highly recommended from some co-workers, Hong Qiao. This is located just east of the Temple of Heaven, which we drove by on our way. It was kind of like Bangkok inside of a mall. The ladies did their best bargaining on some purses, Greg had some people WAYYYY down on some UGG boots, and I got a few things that I hope Steph will like (including one thing for her classroom).
We are packed up and heading to a tour of Ming's Tomb and the Great Wall. It's about an hour from the hotel, so we are heading out now to make ABSOLUTELY sure we do not miss our flight to Hong Kong and make our way home. It is also the weekend of the Chinese New Year, so we want to make sure we get to the airport in plenty of time home. I have about 30 hours of flying ahead of me but can't wait to see my ladies!
Pictures to come later, maybe from the airport lounge...