Thursday, November 12, 2009:
Once again the night began with a bang as around 12:03 I heard the rumble of the clouds being seeded and realized we would probably wake up to freshly fallen snow once again. Drifting slowly, softly down to the ground, covering all in a beautiful blanket of white. Sounds so pretty doesn't it?
Well it was......but then we had to walk in it and the snow quickly lost its appeal! Our group may be made up of Canadians who know winter and how to handle it but, we're in Beijing and didn't pack for the north pole! Some like my mom had thought ahead to pack their winter coat while the rest of us made due by playing the game....how many layers can I wear? Many of us are beginning to resemble the babies in the orphanages who are bundled layer upon layer.
Today when we went out I knew we were going to be outside for an extended period of time so Hannah wore:
- long sleeved onesie
- fleece lined snow pants
- padded jacket
- spring jacket with a hood
- winter hat that covers her ears
She was then strapped to me and my little heater was wrapped in a blanket. She was toasty warm which was reflected in the 1 1/2 hour nap she had snuggly strapped to mommy as I walked through Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.
The snow was still falling quite heavily so we brought umbrellas from the hotel and just followed one another through the sea of people, always on the lookout for our travel mates also carrying white and green Holiday Inn umbrellas. One thing I must say and you will see in the pics, is that the Chinese love beautifully coloured umbrellas and it really was quite pretty to see this ocean of umbrellas visiting these historic sites.
As per normal, the moment our feet hit the ground outside the bus the vendors were asking us to buy things. I hadn't brought gloves this trip and they sounded like a good purchase to make so I bartered and purchased some gloves. The other reason I did so was that I was hoping seeing me with gloves would mean that the vendors would stop trying to sell me their goods. Nope!! Once I had gloves they all thought I needed a hat! LOL!!
Both of these are amazing places with such history to them and the Forbidden City is filled with ornate, gorgeous buildings. In my head, as I prepared for this trip, I knew that The Great Wall would involve a lot of walking and stairs but I hadn't quite prepared myself for the amount of walking we would do at the other locations. It has been great and my back hasn't been sore since about day 3 but still... 2 1/2 hours of walking and climbing as the snow is falling is a workout for sure!! I was so glad to get to the bus at the end but also so glad to have had this opportunity. My parents have been nothing short of amazing and they showed this once again today as we shared this experience together!!
By the end of the trip we were all cold, wet, had wet, wet feet and were VERY thankful to see the bus! I'm still really glad I went but given my choice again, I think I'd choose a day when it wasn't snowing quite so heavily.
We went back to the hotel and got warmed up as I fed Hannah her lunch. I had to go back to the Silk Market for a fitting so Norma, XiaoFen and I hopped in a taxi and off we went. We decided not to brave the subway this time as it was later in the day and the subway would be busy and I just wasn't comfortable taking the baby on it with all those people.
The fun thing this time as we went through the market again was once again people remembered us and some even called out, 'Baby XiaoFen...how are you today?' Yes....we have made a name for ourselves at the silk market!!
I wanted to purchase pearls so went back to Candy's stall (#66 on the 4th floor if you're going to be at the market....she's a doll!! so friendly, happy, does beautiful work and honestly when she gives you a price you feel guilty accepting it and may even pay her more than her original price!!) I purchased some souvenirs and then had a necklace made for myself. Look how quickly and perfectly she restrings the pearls into a necklace, carefully placing a knot between every single pearl. It took her 5 years to learn how to do this...wow!!
Tonight was also a peking duck dinner for the group but it's 1:30am and I truly should get to bed! Will share that later!