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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Free day in China… Hang out in hotel or head out and seek adventure?

The first morning in China I think we all woke up around 1am (which was 9am or so CA time). Our bodies were seriously discombobulated. We toughed it out for a few hours, mowed through our stash of snacks, hung out in the hotel room, then made our way to the breakfast buffet, which was pretty much like the cool breakfast buffets I remember from our last trip in 2006. Tons of food, and many many things I had to look at twice out to figure out. Actually some I never did. ;-)

The hotel is all decorated for Christmas, by the way, with beautiful ornaments, trees, and fun surprises everywhere you look. Here’s the lobby ceiling with hordes of parachuting Santas:
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We got all brave and decided to rent a minivan (and driver) and venture to the Silk Market on our own. Our “minivan” turned out to be a large bus (possibly because of communication problems?), and we could have brought half the tour group along instead of just the six of us. Heh.

The Silk Market was wild. Like nothing I’ve ever seen. It was a huge 7-story building teeming with loud aggressive vendors selling everything from traditional Chinese silk clothing to paintings to stuffed animals to furniture. I was too easily flustered and horrible at bargaining. Jane, by contrast, was a master. Oh my goodness. We eventually would just surreptitiously point out what we wanted and send in Jane.

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This funky room near the top of the Silk Market was called the boiler room and must have been where all the workers got hot water for tea, soup, etc?
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They’re having record low temps in Beijing right now. But we’d take this any day over summer’s 107 degrees and 100 percent humidity, so we’re just fine. Plus the girls think snow is a little gift just for them.

We go everywhere by bus. Our Heritage Tour group has about 104 people with 35 families (or something like that) and three busses.
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Drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists are as wacky and bold here as they were last time we saw them. They dart here and there fearlessly, paying absolutely no mind to oncoming traffic, lights, direction of traffic, or massive busses bearing down on them. I gasp every once in a while, but have yet to see a collision.

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Many of the moped riders have these hand and arm covers attached to their vehicles. They just hop on and off they go. Brilliant for riding in minus-degree weather. Sometimes all you can see are their noses:
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Tomorrow’s post is for a big day – on the move from 7am till 8pm. Now I have to dash, we’re getting on another bus.

12 comments :

  1. Anonymous12/27/2012

    So glad to see smiling pictures of the whole family. A super trip with snow as a treat!
    stay warm,
    wela

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  2. Anonymous12/27/2012

    Save for the cold weather, things have really changed since I was there in 1976. Wow! Stay warm and enjoy. It is fun to vicarious enjoy your adventures.

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  3. I'm so glad you are able to post! We head to China in July and I'm dreading the heat (it was 102 in May when we were there in 2006!) Have a wonderful time!

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  4. We are considering a heritage tour this summer. I would love to know your thoughts about going with a tour group when you return. We are considering the heritage tour through CCAI. Thanks. It looks fun so far!

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  5. Hey Lady you want China T-shirt? I givea you good deal! Loved the Silk Market and bartering!! Bought back great memories! Have a great trip!

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  6. Very nice we can follow you on your trip - hope you'll have a wonderful time!!

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  7. information is good, nice info

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  8. Wow. China looks very different from when I was there in 1993. It looks like you're having fun! I'm so glad! There are so many adventures to be had. My children never believe me when I say I've hiked the The Great Wall. Post a pic so I can say, "SEE! They've done it to. Not just MULAN can do it!"

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  9. Looks like you are off to a great start - looking forward to reading more about your adventures!

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  10. I was in China several years ago and I remember those fearless bike riders! Watch out!

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  11. How awesome! Love, love, love the Silk Market! We ventured there on our own the first day we were in China and it helped to give us confidence for the rest of our trip. I think by the end of 2 weeks we'd visited there 5 different times and enjoyed the people and the bartering!

    SO glad you're having such a wonderful trip!!!

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