If you’re friends with me on Facebook you’ve probably seen me add a ton of photos. I’ve been pretty busy the past few weekends sight seeing and doing tourist stuff. My first real weekend here I went on a tour with a group of other tourists to see the Great Wall. First, we went in a van to the Jade Factory. It was really interesting to get to see some of the workers making small figurines up close. I also got taught how to tell real jade from fake jade. After that, we got to go into the store to look around. Jade in China is very expensive, but I did get a few souvenirs to take back with me. After the Jade Factory, we got back into the van and headed to the Mutianyu Great Wall. Unfortunately, I ended up getting car sick on the way there. Thankfully, after I got out of the van I felt better so I continued on with a smile and I got to go up to the Great Wall by a cable car/trolley. It was a breath taking view. Then I got to go down by a toboggan which is basically a long slide you go down the side of the mountain on a scooter (it’s actually really fun). The Great Wall is really a sight to see. If you ever go to China you must go, but try to go to a spot where it’s not crowded. It’s really amazing to get to walk on history and see the views from the Wall, plus there are all the pictures you get to take to show off to everyone. Once we got done with the Great Wall we got to experience lunch from some of the village people. Then to end the day, we got into the van and headed to a tea house in Beijing where we were taught how to hold a tea cup properly and take part in a traditional tea ceremony. I’ve learned that Chinese people take their tea time very seriously.
The weekend after I went on another tour that took ALL day. We went to Tienanmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, and Summer Palace. All together I walked about 5-6 miles that day. You see a lot of men in uniforms around Tienanmen Square and LOTS of tourists. I’ll be honest, the Forbidden city wasn’t as “marvelous” as I was expecting, but it is very cool to get to see history. It definitely was different back when it wasn’t a tourist place. I didn’t get to go inside any of the buildings. You can look inside of some of the rooms from the outside but that’s it. There were a lot of Chinese people there, more than American’s and some of them would come up to our tour group and listen as our tour guide talked. A lot of them would just stare at our group. One guy even tried following our group and taking pictures of us, but then our tour guide told him to go away. After the Forbidden City, we got in a van and went to the silk factory. We got to learn how silk was made, and watch them take silk from the silk worms cocoon. I even got to help put layers of silk to make the inside of a quilt. After we shopped at the silk market, we got back into the van and headed to the Temple of Heaven. I would say it is a piece of Art. You can’t go inside, but you can walk around it, and take pictures. Once we spent some time taking our pictures there we headed off to our final destination and my favorite one I must say the Summer Palace. The Summer Palace is a vast ensemble of lakes, gardens, and palaces. I would definitely put the Summer Palace on your list of places to visit in China. I got to walk around and take in the beauty of it all. There are so many boats on the lake, people flying kites, and something beautiful to look at everywhere you go.
So there is a little more insight on what some of my weekends have been up too!