08 November 2009

Sightseeing And A Superstar

On Friday we woke up, ate breakfast, and met our guide at 8:30AM. Our
first stop on our sightseeing tour was Tiananmen Square which is just
outside the Forbidden City. Tiananmen Square is huge as it can hold
about 500,000 people! There are also 56 pillars lining one side which
represent the 56 nationalities within China. It was cold and foggy
while we were there but we warmed up quickly carrying around two kids!
:) Isabel doesn't usually want to be carried around much but I think
since Nathan can't walk much without getting out of breath and is
carried a lot, Isabel wanted to be as well. We walked across the
square and there were large crowds everywhere. It soon became apparent
that we were in the company of celebrity! Everywhere we went, Isabel
captured lots of attention. People came up to her and stood by her to
have their picture taken with her. Some of them hugged and kissed her.
They were so excited and spoke with such enthusiasm but of course we
had no idea what they were saying. Our guide Cindy said that Chinese
people like to have their picture taken with people they think are
cute. And just like a superstar, ours soon became comfortable in her
role, posing with her fans and saying things like, "these people like
me" and "that guy there is taking my picture." It was funny.

After walking across the square we entered the Forbidden City. There
is so much ancient history associated with these landmarks and Cindy
did an excellent job explaining many of them to us. We brought a
carrier with us so that it would be easier to carry Nathan and since
Nathan generally prefers Richard over me, he got the honor of carting
him on our tour. Thankfully, Isabel started walking or else I would
have wished that we brought two carriers. Cindy said that I have a
good husband and I suspect it might not be too common here in China
for the men to carry the kids, especially in a carrier. Right before
you exit the city, you walk through the Imperial Garden. This was my
favorite. There are trees there that are over 500 years old. It was so
nice. I would have loved to spend more time there just wandering
around. There are 4 structures representing each of the four seasons
and a mountain made by hand out of these rocks with holes in them.
Apparently when it rains, the water streams out of the holes and it
looks somewhat like a waterfall. There are stairs in the mountain too
where the emperor would go inside and get up to the building on the
top and look out over the whole garden and city. Tourists aren't
allowed in there. And actually, tourists pretty much go through the
city from the North to the South and the other portions are blocked
off. It is so large that people would get lost!

After we walked through the city, we met our driver and he drove us to
lunch. It was nice having Cindy there to help us order and interact
with the staff. It can be quite stressful to not know how to order and
such. Well, stressful for me because Richard just goes with the flow
of everything. Our lunch was really good and afterward we headed to
the Great Wall. On our way we passed the Olympic Village and we got to
see the Bird's Nest which was fun for me. Cindy said that the locals
initially complained about the cost of the village for just one event
but since the Olympics they have made back more than they spent just
on tourism at the village and events like concerts. Wow!

The part of the Great Wall we went to was at a higher elevation so the
weather was warmer. I wish it hadn't been so foggy but it was still an
amazing thing to see. We got to climb some of it as well. The part we
went to was very steep and I was wondering if it was a good idea
because we had the kids with us but it ended up being great (just
worried about someone tripping and falling a LONG way down). Isabel
climbed the whole time and Richard did a great job with Nathan. Isabel
kept warning Richard of big steps (some of them were nearly half her
height) and saying things like, "I've never seen so many steps before
in my whole life." I think the Chinese people were amazed that she was
doing all this climbing by herself because they kept giving her the
thumps up and smiling and sometimes giving words of encouragement. Or
maybe they were just more of her fans. :) Cindy mentioned that some
people see how far they can go and climb for days. I told her I would
love to do that but not with little kids. Maybe we can go back when
they're older. It is definitely great exercise. I'm glad too that we
are here when it's not so hot or it wouldn't have been as enjoyable.

After we left the wall we went back to our hotel, scrounged up some
dinner and played with the kids. We were surprised to see that Nathan
has a pretty good attention span. We brought a book for him that comes
with some animal magnets that you stick to the book pages and he sat
on my lap and played with that for quite a while. Next it was baths
and some reading and then time to go to bed. Nathan wasn't as tired
because he wasn't nearly as active as Isabel but they both went to bed
well. I am so surprised with how well Nathan is doing. I was
anticipating much more grieving and "acting out" but he is really
good. He has a moment every now and then which is to be expected but
he's done great and I am so thankful for that.

Thank you to all who've left comments and emailed us your kinds words.
We love reading them and are so appreciative that you've taken the
time to support us. Thank you to all who've been praying for us! We
are doing well here and I know it is because of all those prayers!

Oh, we don't actually have access to our blog, Richard set it up so we
can email our posts. He was able to do that through his blackberry
which apparently can't be blocked. I think he wants to write a post
about how much he loves his blackberry. Stay tuned. :)


TanyaLea said...

Okay...so note to self... bring a BLACKBERRY when we travel!! ;)

Isabel is such a trooper and she is taking everything so well and in such stride...what a cutie!! I love that she has even learned to soak in her newfound 'stardom'! This will be a trip that she will NEVER forget!!

Praise God that everything is going so good and that Nathan is doing so well! I love reading your posts and seeing all of the photos. Take care and know that you ALL remain in our thoughts and prayers...along with many others who I'm certain are praying, too! God is faithful!! <><


FlacaS29 said...

Isabel is a superstar!! That is so cool for her! I think it is so wonderful for her to have the attention because I wondered if she might feel a little different with Nathan around now. I am glad she is doing so great. She is a great big sister already! I think it is so great too that she gets to see and do all these fantastic things at her age.