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Monday, August 8, 2011

Beijing...Something to start with

We spent 7 glorious days in Beijing, China. 7 Days I would NEVER have EVER thought I would do! I'm an American girl who grew up basically in the middle of the USA. I was happy just to go the neighboring state. So, finding myself in CHINA was like a dream. It sometimes didn't feel like it was me. Even now and looking at all the pictures it doesn't seem like I was really there. I've said it a million times and I'll say it a million times more, I LOVE seeing these different cultures and learning from them. It is perhaps more fun to me than some of the sites we see.

The first thing I noticed about Beijing was the grass, the kind I'm use to in the US. It was odd at first. Then we started driving more into the city and there wasn't much grass left to see. There are millions of people in Beijing, literally! And I think everyone of them owns a car and all were on the rode while we were driving to the hotel. They drive on the right side of the rode, unlike Singapore, and that too was weird at first. We looked like the tourists we with our heads looking all around and sometimes with our mouths wide open. We realized that Beijing is very much like the US. We even looked up the coordinates of Beijing and it is about the same coordinates as where 2 of my sisters live in Nebraska. The only thing that was different was the people were a bit shorter and didn't have the pasty white skin tone, theirs is a beautiful caramel brown.

Looks a lot like where I grew up
There were also TONS of bikes/scooters/motorcycles EVERYWHERE! I've seen bikes but these ones seemed to multiply! Some had seats on the back for the rider, some just had 2 or more people on them balancing and driving along, at the same time! Sometimes the bikes weaved in and out of traffic and the cars would honk. I will never again complain about Singapore traffic after being in Beijing. With all the people and cars and bikes it is an aggressive path to anywhere you may want to go.
this is a tame picture of traffic

The food was always good and always a surprise. Our tour guide, Lily, took us around most of the time we were there and we told her we wanted Chinese food and not Western food. She obliged and we had some of the most delicious food! We ate tons of vegetables that I'm going to start adding to our dinners and we had some of the best noodles I have ever had in my life! I even ate mushrooms AND liked them! We are expanding our palate little by little but I have not been disappointed yet! It's such a refreshing change from the same old food we were use to.
Beijing noodles! Even Henry, our Gnome loved them

One of the biggest things we noticed was all the Chinese writing on everything. DUH! I don't know why it surprised us at first. You go to any big city and most everything is written in the local language and maybe one more. English was few and far between on buildings and it wasn't one of the most widely used languages but we found enough people who knew enough English to help us to get what we wanted or needed. We went to a grocery store and I didn't see ANY English on any of the products unless it was part of the description of the product, Lay's potato chips were "English style". Chinese writing is beautiful and it almost added to the beauty of the buildings.
no idea what it says but it sure looks pretty

We live in Singapore, I have seen Chinese, they have seen westerners. However, in Beijing we were like a rare creature. People asked to take our pictures, A LOT! We had people silently stand next to us and pose, I think I scared one lady when I turned around and smiled for her picture! We all got asked to be in at least one picture alone. The kids were the bigger hit, they were asked so much that Jake and Nat both said their cheeks hurt from smiling. We would have been able to pay for our trip if we charged for the pictures, that's how much we got asked! I wonder what the people say when they show the pictures of us westerners to their families. Hope we left a good impression.

one of many pics taken of us

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