Saturday, October 28, 2006

Ni Hao from Wuhan!

Finally a post. I meant to post last night but after climbing the Great Wall (that's right, I said Great Wall) I was exhausted.The trip has been a whirlwind so far. It started with a 4 1/2 hour delay in Chicago. Instead of getting into Beijing at 2:30 p.m., we arrived at 7:30 p.m. We were tired so after checking into our hotel, we went to the room, relaxed and fell asleep. The next morning we had a wonderful breakfast at the Swissotel buffet. There was a nice mix of American food along with Chinese. The omelets were great.

We started the day with a trip to Tiannemen Square and the Forbidden City. The enormity of it all was amazing. This little "city" was built strictly for the emporer and his family including concubines. It's huge and the rooms are very cold and expansive. It was very interesting. Everything looked very old and dusty - not very kept up. Considering that it dates back to the 1400s I guess that's to be expected.

After we toured the entire city we drove to the Great Wall. It was unbelievable. We climbed the steepest side to the 2nd tower - I felt like my legs were going to fall off! But it was so worth it. It's breathtaking. I've never seen anything so old and it felt surreal.

Just driving to the wall was an experience in itself. The people of China live very modestly. The apartments aren't decorated beautifully and cozy like our homes. It seems like people spend most of their time outside and only go inside to sleep. Some of the houses were little more than shacks and I saw many large tents that appeared to be homes. There were a lot of buildings that were half falling down with people living in the other half. I can tell you that there's no such thing as HGTV here.

We had lunch at an authentic Chinese restaurant with roasted duck. Steve tried it but I wasn't brave enough. I did have some tasty spring rolls and rice with green beans and olive leaves. We sat at big table with a large lazy susan in the middle and everything was served family style.

We are now in Wuhan and are about to do some paperwork for the big day. There's a crib in our room - yikes! And we receive the babys at 10:30 tomorrow. They are being delivered to our hotel!

I'll post more with pictures later after all the paperwork. We are having an unforgettable time. We've met so many wonderful people and look forward to lifelong friendships with them.

We miss you all!

Steve and Chris

I ran out of time - look for pictures in the next post!

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