Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Great Wall of China and other adventures

We are EXHAUSTED but from a very rewarding day! After a really tasty buffet breakfast in our hotel, we met our guide, Maggie, at 8:30 in the lobby of our hotel. We headed first to The Jade Factory.

This is an example of agate jade. The workmanship was truly fantastic. We learned that jade comes in many colors, and that the majority of the statues are carved from one piece of jade. Even the one pictured above, that has rings hanging off the handles, is carved from one single piece of jade.

From The Jade Factory, we traveled to The Great Wall of China. Price made it all the way! Can you believe it? The real miracle is that Tom was able to backpack that baby all the way up and back down.

The monument in this picture displays a quote by Chairman Mao that says something similar to this: “You are not a real man until you have climbed to the top of the Great Wall of China.”. It was a real dream come true for me to be able to visit the Great Wall and enjoy the amazing views from the heights it took us to.

After leaving the Great Wall, we went to tour and have lunch on the second story of the Cloisonné (pronounced cloy’-sun-nay) Factory. Again, we were in awe of the skill involved in carrying on this ancient art form. The first course served to us was oxtail soup. It actually sounds a lot more exotic than it tasted. It tasted like spicy, watered down tomato soup. I did eat something in it that I didn’t recognize, but I don’t think it was actually oxtail. It was more similar to the texture of water chestnuts.

After lunch, we traveled to the Summer Palace. The history of the largest imperial garden in China was fascinating to Tom and me, but I doubt you are interested in the details. One thing though…it is located on one square mile and is made up of 60% water from a manmade, 2-3 meter deep, HAND DUG lake. HAND DUG!!!

The garden was exquisite. I personally loved the Chinese magnolia trees that were in bloom. Price slept through the entire garden in the backpack on Tom’s back!

After touring the Summer Palace, we made a final stop at the Pearl Factory before

coming back to have dinner at a very authentic Chinese restaurant near the hotel. The meal was delicious. We started with an unnamed vegetable. Our guide is going to try to figure out the English name for it, but she doesn’t think we have this vegetable in the States. Then we had pork and green bean dumplings, a lamb dish that was garnished with a lot of cilantro, and fried rice. It was so delicious! Did I already say that? Price fell asleep on my lap at dinner, so we are hoping he will get a better night’s sleep tonight than last night.

Jack and Madeleine, we had lots of fun bragging about how special you guys are as our guide asked questions about you! She thinks your nicknames (Pumpkin and Sassy) are very interesting. Tomorrow afternoon we will get to meet your new sister. When you wake up in the morning on Sunday and check the computer, we will hopefully have a video and pictures for you. We love you two very much.

1 comment:

Jackie Egan said...

Looks like you are having a great time. Tomorrow is your big day and I am so excited for you. It means my day is getting closer to our getting Gideon. Treasure every moment of that big day tomorrow. Can't wait to see pictures. Gideon's mom