We spent two and one half days in Beijing, the City of Peace. For a city containing twenty million people, it is surprisingly peaceful. It is loud and sometimes very chaotic, but you rarely see anger or rage exhibited even though people are frequently jostled about. One thing that was definitely a bit of a shock was the driving. I have never seen anything like it. There were very few traffic signals at intersections and even when there were signals, they were often disregarded. Imagine a six-way intersection without traffic signals and you will understand why driving in Beijing feels like a constant game of chicken. We learned it was best to try to ignore traffic and concentrate on the conversation within the vehicle. Crossing the road was something entirely different. You had to be very vigilant or you would be hit. There is no such thing as pedestrian right of way and we quickly figured out that crossing with a group was the safest bet. My strategy was to hide behind someone bigger and taller (usually Chris) as we weaved our way around vehicles.
We were very thankful to meet a wonderful couple also adopting through Holt. We met them on the first day and were very grateful for their company and expertise (they had learned a few lessons since they had arrived in Beijing several days prior to our arrival). It was exciting to learn that they were adopting a son from the province right next to Norah’s. We are already talking an arranged marriage. :) Even more surprising was to find out that they are from El Paso, TX which is a city forty minutes away from Las Cruces. We hope to keep in contact with them and greatly enjoyed our time together!
|Climbing with our Holt counterparts|
The first day, we all went on a guided tour to the Ju Yong Guan Great Wall, to a jade factory, and around the Old Beijing. Climbing the Great Wall was quite the experience. Honestly, I was expecting more of a brisk walk and instead of a fairly steep climb up uneven steps. By the time we got to the top, even with many rests on the way, I thought my legs were going to rebel. However, the view was worth it!
The air quality is often very poor.
A bit sweaty, but we made it to our destination!
We saw amazing works of art at the jade factory.
We ate at a Mongolian Hot Pot restaurant for dinner. You boiled meat, vegetables, and noodles in that steaming pot of soup. A fun, but time intensive way to eat.
The second day we went on a guided tour to Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and through a silk factory. We bumped shoulders on this day with probably several hundred thousand people. I have never seen so many people in one place in my life. One tenth of Beijing has approximately the same amount of people as the entire state of New Mexico, so you can imagine that a popular tourist spot like Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City would be packed. In China, people don't stand in orderly lines. Getting through crowds is usually a contact sport. Hopefully we will remember to stop shouldering our way through crowds once we get back to the United States.
The Forbidden City is very expansive and is magnificent to see in person. These pictures do not even begin to do it justice.
The buildings are very intricate and beautiful. You will just have to come see for yourselves!
Stretching silk to make a comforter. Oh how I wanted one! Next time I go to China, it better be as a millionaire.
We loved the city of Beijing and hope to go back. We left for Taiyuan in the Shanxi province today. The best part of trip is yet to come! Tomorrow, we get our Norah. I think about the years we have longed for her, even before we knew about her, and I am incredibly humbled that the Lord has brought us to this place. Please pray that Norah will be able to understand a little of what is going on and that we will have a peaceful transition.