Saturday, December 25, 2004

Day Two (Friday, Dec. 10th)

(Here in my Journal I wrote a lot of detail about the exchanging money, the panda phone, and breakfast, and who cares, really?)

At ten, we went to the Temple of Heaven. I stood on the center stone and shouted "something." It was beautiful. The center stone is a place that makes your voice resonate. I especially enjoyed watching the groups of Chinese people singing, dancing, playing cards, knitting, and playing ball.

As we left the Temple of Heaven, Chinese men and women swarmed around us trying to sell their wares. "Rolex! Five American Dollars!" "Beijing Book? Beijing Book?" "Kites! Hello! Kites!" One little old Chinese lady came up to me, touched my arm, smiled hugely, and said "Fat!" She looked for all the world like a child, amazed at a circus animal, saying her first word. And then she and others laughed. Our little group was followed to the bus by the insistent vendors.

We ate lunch at a Thai restaurant. The table had a big, spinning, disk in the center where they placed large plates of food. You would just spin the disk around to get something from each disk. We had rabbit (gross), chicken (not terrible but not good either), beef (tasty, but probably not beef), and duck (very good). I even tried the tea.

Before we left, we all flocked to the restroom. To our horror and amazement, they had squatty potty's with just one western style toilet. I waited for the toilet.

After this, we headed to Tiananmen Square. The Chinese there openly stared at us as we walked by. We also encountered more vendors and beautiful kites soaring overhead.

At the entrance to the forbidden city, our coordinator went somewhere and we stood waiting for her as people began to gather around us, just staring. Brenda food a picture of the people staring at us, and they just stared more. They kept point to my hair. Some crippled men came over begging for money. It was heartbreaking. They got so close and would not leave. It was just amazing to be stared at like that. Inside the forbidden city, some teenagers began posing in front of me and taking pictures. When we left the forbidden city, one man stood next to me while a woman took our picture. It was strange and a bit scary.

As we walked to the bus, we encountered a woman and two children begging. It was all I could do not to cry.

When we arrived back at the hotel (4:30) we immediately fell asleep ( as we found out later, so did the rest of the group), the jet lag still clinging to us.

Oh yes, on our many bus rides, I saw McDonald's, KFC, Fridays, Subway, Starbucks, and Pizza Hut.

(I know I have only typed out day two, but it is five a.m (stupid jet lag) and my fingers hurt from typing so much. I'll add some more tomorrow. Love you.)

Sarah Jo

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