Friday, November 13, 2009

Hutong Tour and More Shopping!

Wednesday, Nov 11, 2009:

My sweet baby girl slept in this morning as did her mommy so it meant breakfast in our room rather than joining the family at the buffet. Norma is the best and made sure I had breakfast too by bringing up some fruit, cereal and juice. Thanks friend!!

Today was a cloudy, cold day but thankfully not snowy. We joined the other families in the lobby at 9:30 and headed out on the bus for a Hutong Tour. SO cool!! Hutongs are ancient styles of living and I could try to explain it but if you click here it will give you a much better explanation!

We boarded bicycle rickshaws and took a fun tour through a wonderful old 'village' of hutongs in the middle of Beijing. Our driver was a cute old guy and we had fun together. Near the beginning, a man on a bicycle came up behind us and made a funny sound with his mouth. We just figured he wanted to pass but no, of course not! He was trying to sell us something even as we rode along! We laughed at this and didn't make any purchases while on the move.

From the rickshaw we could see all the alleys where the little courtyards are built off of. This video isn't very clear due to the bright snow behind our hutong guide but you can get an idea of all the traditions that go into these old homes. Quite fascinating!

One of the things I had done here as well was a neat presentation of Hannah's name done in pictures. Look how quickly he was able to create it! these are wonderful souvenirs of our time here in China to bring home!

After visiting the courtyard of a family, we boarded the rickshaws again and visited a couple of other parts of the village. One of the things Norma and I have noted during our time here is that they sometimes keep unusual hours. In this case they said there were numerous beer gardens and they were open every day from 5pm to 6am! (We noticed the spa at the hotel is open 1pm to 4am and yet another night when we went to visit Tiananmen Square at 8pm to see the beautiful lights, it was closed. Just unusual to us.)

After our rickshaw hutong tour Sara took us to an authentic Chinese market. Quite an eye opening experience and I was reminded once again (as I have been many, many times this trip) how great our working conditions, hours and wages are at home! This was a cold day and these people were working in their stalls with no heat and very little electricity. My flash lit the stalls much more than they actually were.

Toilet paper anyone??

From our tour of the Hutongs the bus headed to the Silk Market. We're getting to know our way around here and many of the people working at the stalls remember us too and call out, 'Hi! I remember you! Want to buy silk shirt?'

Today buying a silk shirt wasn't on the agenda but having a silk jacket made was so Sara joined Norma and I on the 3rd floor of the market and helped me place and order with a seamstress to have a silk jacket made for myself. I chose hot pink material with small white and gold asian style flowers. Very pretty. We browsed through magazines and quickly found a style that I liked, they measured, asked me to come back for a fitting tomorrow and then we paid and were off. That was fast! I'm sure it's going to be so pretty and will be nice to have on hand for special occassions such as Chinese New Year.

From the seamstress we headed back to some of our favourite vendors and stocked up on things we needed more dresses, scarves and more. It was also fun to see some of our travel group at the market and help one another out when one got a good price. The vendors were always happy to match the price given to one family in our group.

It was a great day once again and neat to see parts of China we might not otherwise get to see.

In the evening we decided to leave the hotel and head to KFC up the street. Hannah even cooperated so that mommy could eat a little supper. Think we're finally getting the groove of this. Yay!!

We ended the day with some playtime in Grandma and Grandpa's room. As much as these posts are interesting, truly what is a post without some Hannah in there? Enjoy!!


  1. What an interesting tour! I love all the smiles in the pictures.

    Keep smilin!

  2. Loved the tour pictures but missed seeing Hannah. What happened?

  3. Guess I was too fast as the pictures are up now. She is so sweet and I love her playfulness. What a treasure!

  4. We LOVED our hutong tour,we visited a school classroom and we and the kids took turns singing to one was know the bag full of bags he was trying to sell you...I bought three bags full during our!

  5. Wow! What an experience! I love the guys trying to sell you bags :-) Thank you for sharing your amazing journey!

  6. WOAH...she almost leaped off that bed!!!! I think my heart stopped for a beat!!!

    So fun to have you call this morning!!!!! Can't wait to have you home!!!!!

    Praying you safely back.

  7. I'm so glad you got to do the hutong tour. Back in the day when we first went we were one of the first groups to make it part of the "official" tour. It was on the advice of someone who did it "unofficially" when they travelled. Definitely not to be missed. I love all the details you write. I can't wait to go back and do it all again with my girls when they are a little bit older!

  8. What a happy, happy baby! You are such a natural! That baby is lucky, lucky, lucky!

  9. You found HuTong Pizza! I hope you went's the best pizza in all of BeiJing!! :)

  10. Oh I hope you keep on will be so nice to watch her grow and change. A sweet little dolly is your girlie......

  11. Back in the 80s, KFC was the only American franchise of anything in the entire city. It was actually located *on* T-Square.

    We succumbed after a 3wks because by this time we would have paid top dollar to find anything recognizable unlike how you find life there today.

    The locals referred to KFC as "Old Man's Chicken" because you don't need teeth to eat it.... hee, hee.

    Carol in Ottawa

  12. That last video is adorable.

    Looks like she may be about to have a growth spurt, her hands and feet seem so big for her size.

    Such a cutie! Can't wait to see pictures of you HOME with Hannah.


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