We slept great last night again. We feel like advertisements for Sealy mattresses – once you hit the bed, you’re asleep.
Yesterday we had been handed a packet with phone numbers of the guides and the hotel. As Rosa said, “Now you have the numbers in case you miss yourself.” We all liked that! The packet also had the Chinese characters of our babies’ names. There is another Fu Ai Lei baby to be adopted, and when we compared characters, they were different.
We started our touring at 8:15 am, heading for the Beijing International Christian Fellowship church. As the bulletin said, “Please note that it is compulsory to show your photo ID to demonstrate your foreigner identity. This is a requirement from the Beijing RAB.” The Chinese citizens are not allowed to attend. Some of our group had heard you had to show your passport to get in. But since we were part of a travel group, we all got in together.
As usual, the minister asked for first-time visitors to stand up. We stood up as a group. When one spokesperson for us told that we were from America World and were adopting from China, there was an “aww” through the auditorium, and I found myself getting a little teary with the emotion of what we’re doing. We’re saving little girls from the poverty of China, giving them wonderful loving homes. Wayne recorded a lot of the music from the church service, saying that would be good background music for the video documentary he plans to make.
We appreciate the country we live in, that our number one guaranteed freedom is freedom of religion.
After church we went to the jade factory, where we had a quick introduction into the different qualities of jade, and then they set us loose in the huge display room. The Chinese salegirls and men were very accommodating, almost pushy, as we’ve seen in most of the stores. Rosa, our Chinese guide, says she doesn’t end up getting pushed so much herself, but that the Americans and other tourists seem to get aggressive sales treatment. I almost got out of the store without buying anything, but then we bought a “family ball” which is several jade balls inside each other. The displayed works were beautiful, ugly, interesting… But they were all pretty expensive, and too heavy to take with us.
Then we headed to lunch. There was an attached factory with “cloissuring” (not sure of the spelling), which involves placing small wires of copper onto pots, then painting and glazing.
Lunch was the same basic food, same small plates, same soup. Interestingly we haven’t seen any fortune cookies, duck sauce, hot mustard, soy sauce, or many of the cliché Chinese sauces or foods.
Then on to the Great Wall of China. It runs 7000 miles, and was initially for defense. We hiked up, up, up. Just as we were panting and running out of breath, the “street vendors” would attack. They were camped out at different areas, and would follow you as you panted “no…no… no…” I made the mistake at one point of panting “Maybe on the way down,” to one woman. She said “Look at me… you remember me… I remember you.” And she did! She and another woman flocked around me with t-shirts as we were coming down the walkway, and finally after saying no enough times, I struck a pretty good deal.
We bought a book about the Great Wall (bargained pretty well I think, as we panted our way down the walkway), so we can learn more about it. We also bought 3 T-shirts, several silk scarves (they got cheaper as we got farther down the wall, with each person trying to outbid the previous one), and a stone plaque with Amanda’s Chinese name etched into it. Wayne teased that it was like going to Wal-Mart. But this one was “The Great Wal-Mart.”
The Great Wall walkway was made up of steps and walkways. It was built up the crests of mountains and back down again. The steps were variable in height, ranging from about 4 inch rises, to over a foot. They weren’t consistent in each set of steps. Near the top of the wall, it was funny to see people standing at an angle to the walkway. On the way back down, we were amazed at some of the steps we had climbed. We were glad it was sunny and windy – just right for the strenuous hike. It’s an amazing engineering feat, especially considering how long ago it was built. Another interesting point… we saw lots of Caucasians, but rare Chinese on the wall. Maybe they knew something we didn’t – who would be crazy enough to climb that thing?
We have to mention The Duck. Deanna, my sister in law, sent us our first gift for Amanda, a soft fuzzy yellow duck toy. We brought it with us, and we’ve dug it out of the plastic bag every once and a while for a picture…. The Duck goes to Tianaman Square, The Duck goes to The Forbidden City… The Duck goes to dinner (we put him on the lazy susan in the center and let him go for a spin!) The waitress, who couldn’t speak English, looked at it with what I thought was a scowl. Then a second later I saw her grin. Crazy Americans. The Duck went to the Great Wall of course. As the vendors were flocking around us at the top of the hiking point, (it was crumbled past there), we had someone take our photo . One woman vendor agreed to get in the picture with us. I teased that I would sell the duck to her… “100 yuan… 100 yuan” but she ended up being too eager to trade, and I had to hang onto The Duck.
After our hike of the Great Wall, we headed to the duck dinner (yes, that was one time The Duck went for a spin). It was pretty good overall, but we’re all getting tired of Chinese food. Time for some pizza, nachos, steaks, or Italian food.
Well, we’re wrapping up the Beijing portion of our trip. Our flight tomorrow to Chonqing leaves at 8:30, and we’ve been told we must be on the bus at 6 am (yawn). So we’ll be up at 5 am. Ugh! But soon our goal of the last couple years will be a reality for us… we get to meet our daughter. A thousand miles away from us, and halfway around the world from her new home, she’s probably sleeping soundly now, unaware of the changes tomorrow will bring. She’s spending her last night in the orphanage. Wow, what a thought. We’re gonna rock her world…!