Saturday, July 5, 2014

Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City

We had a day jam packed with touring from 9:00 this morning until 11:00 tonight.  I am amazed at how much energy Halainah has.  We walked miles and miles today in the scorching heat and Halainah did not complain once.  She is a strong girl.

Our day started out at Tiananmen Square.  Tiananmen Square is a large city square in the center of Beijing, China.  It is named after the Tiananmen gate (Gate of Heavenly Peace) located to its North, separating it from the Forbidden City.  Tiananmen Square is the fourth largest city square in the world.  It has great cultural significance as it was the site of several important events in Chinese history.

We were told by our guide that July is the busiest month of tourism as everyone is on summer break.  When we adopted Ava in August it wasn't nearly as packed as it was today.  She said that schools go back in session in August and that is why.  There are also new security measures to follow as a lot of crime has occurred in Beijing lately.  So we needed to go through the new security lines.  We were packed like sardines and there is no personal space in China.  So we had people pressed up against us in the scalding heat.  Not exactly my choice of fun but once we got into The Forbidden City we were able to move away from the crowds.  

There are two things I did before leaving for China that I am beyond thankful for.  One is losing 25 pounds because honestly I cannot imagine dragging around that extra weight in this heat.  The other is cutting like 5 inches of my hair.  I will never take cold water or air conditioner for granted again.

Next we went into The Forbidden City.   The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty.  It is located in the center of Beijing, China and now houses the Palace Museum.  For almost 500 years, it served as the home of the emperor and their households, as well as the ceremonial and political center of Chinese government.  Built in 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 buildings and covers 180 acres.  The palace complex exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture and has influenced cultural and architectural developments in East Asia and elsewhere.

It's amazing how this is our third trip to The Forbidden City and each time we go we learn something new.  Our guide Lily gave us so much interesting history it was amazing.  I am really glad Halainah was able to stand on such historical grounds of her birth country.

After The Forbidden City we went for a traditional lunch.  Tony and I have always loved authentic Chinese food especially from Beijing.  And I am very impressed that Halainah has tried almost everything that we have given her.  For the most part, she has liked everything with a few exceptions.   Of course the noodles are her favorite.  We called her noodle girl when we adopted her and the name still fits her well.

Afterwards we visited a silk factory.   Again since this is the third time we have been there, Tony and I were not as excited.  But Halainah found it very interesting how silk is made.  Since she is a total worm lover, she was not that happy that the worms are killed by putting their cocoons in hot water so that the silk from their cocoons can be harvested.  But she enjoyed the tour.

Next, we came back to the hotel for a 2 hour nap and went to see a Kung Fu show at night.  It was amazing.  Halainah loved it and was at the edge of her seat the entire time.  She loves Avatar and the show reminded her of that.  She is thoroughly enjoying her trip to China.  I believe she is very proud of her heritage and that was one of the main reasons we felt she needed to gain from this trip.

After the Kung Fu show we took Halainah to Pedestrian Street to see the nightlife of Beijing.  It is a lot like New York City with many neon lights and tons of people in the streets.  I think she was overwhelmed as she held onto our hands tightly but she was smiling from ear to ear with eyes wide open in amazement.  

Unfortunately we had to say goodbye to our guide Lily.  We are forever thankful to her for taking such good care of us.  She made sure Halainah was safe and happy at all times and that she gained some history about her birth country.  She answered many questions about our family to the locals and made us feel at home.  We were very sad to say goodbye.

Tomorrow, we fly from Beijing to Hunan province which is where Colton is from.  We leave at 12:35 pm which is 12:35 AM your time on Sunday.  Please say a prayer for us that our flight is smooth and that we arrive safely.  I already have anxiety about the flight.   We will have Colton in our arms on Monday morning.  

Ava, we love you and miss you.  It was so nice to finally talk to you on the phone tonight.  We miss you so much.  Thank you for being a brave little girl for Grandma.  We can't wait to show you the special surprises we bought for you!  Big hugs and big kisses!!  


OPA said...

Nice pics & glad all is well! Love OPA Hi-Halainah

Anonymous said...

Have a safe flight & I bet you can't wait to meet & hold Colton! Love OPA