Thursday, March 18, 2010

First Full Day In China...Dane's a Rock Star

This has certainly seemed like one of the longest days ever! First, we need to share what happened with the boys last night. I told them to call me before they went to bed so I knew they would be down for the night. They didn't call, so I called them at 10:30 last night. They didn't answer. I called three times…three times no answer. Tom then went down and knocked on the door…no answer. I really found it hard to believe that they would have gone anywhere especially on our first night in China. We didn't get a key so Tom went to the manager on duty to let us in the room. There they were….sound asleep in bed. They were so exhausted they never heard the phone or the door!

We had a great breakfast at the hotel. For the first time ever in China, I was able to speak to a waitress and Tom wasn't. She was from Mexico so I used what little Spanish I knew and talked with her! Tom is having a great time talking to people in Mandarin. Most are surprised how well he speaks the language. So far it hasn't gotten on any of our nerves!

The first place we went to today was the Temple of Heaven. I'll have to let Tom write about the details of things. I am not the best at just taking my time and soaking things in. I prefer to keep moving while Tom enjoys talking and asking questions.

(This is Tom) Temple of Heaven was built in 1400's in response to a proud emperor who boasted and was struck dead. The emperor that followed decided to sacrifice to the "God of the Heavens." So they actually sacrificed animals there. I find it interesting that "righteous" in Chinese means "Lamb over Me" – wonder if that doesn't go back to our father Abraham? Anyway, everything is in "9's" – the Chinese believed that the number "10" represents perfection, so our time on earth is never perfect…so they reflected that by using multiples of 9's as they built the temple. No idols, just worship of the "God of the Heavens."

After the Temple of Heaven we headed over to Tiananmen Square. It is here that we encountered our first run-in with someone wanting their picture taken with one of us. Several people would approach us wanting to have their picture taken with Dane. We figured it must be the red hair and freckles since they didn't care to have their picture taken with anyone else. After the first three "attacks" we told Dane to keep his hood on to keep the paparazzi from running after him! After the square we headed on into The Forbidden City. Again, I am absolutely terrible when it comes to the details of these places. I was way too busy getting from point A to point B and not losing the girls in the process. Tom will have to fill you all in on that some other time. All I will say is that we did so much walking by this point that my knees and feet were killing me. I was exceptionally proud of the girls and Ty and Dane as they kept up pretty well.

(Tom again) Tiananmen Square means "Door of Heavenly Peace." It can hold ½ Million people in it, and is where Mao addressed the people at the revolution.

The Forbidden City was built in 1420 over 20 years by about 1 million people. It's called the "Forbidden City" because the people were forbidden to enter…only the emperor or those that worked for him in the govt. I think it's where the movie "The Last Emperor" was filmed. It has much history and bloodshed of the emperor's sons who positioned themselves against each other for power. I can only imagine how impressive this was hundreds of years ago to people in China.

After the Forbidden City, we headed over to the Hutong area of the city; the oldest part of the city. We had dinner in one of the homes there…..the food was cooked by the gentleman that lives in the home… was great! Ty and Dane were actually surprised that they liked much of what we were given. We have been asked so many times if the girls are twins! We thought that was common in the US because we have felt that most who have asked must assume all Asians looks alike. Well, we take that back from this day forward. When a dozen strangers in China ask the same thing, must be a legitimate question! After lunch we all jumped on a rickshaw and had a tour of the Hutongs. (yep, Tom again…) Hutongs were 4 small houses that all faced each other with a courtyard in the middle. These were the houses where people lived outside of the Forbidden City. I understand they are very expensive…maybe $500,000 US dollars.

It's a lot colder here than I had thought. I am glad I brought hats and gloves for the girls. After the Hutongs we headed over to a market where the guys bought gloves/hats. Dane bought one to hide his red hair from all of his fans. Ty was more practical and bought one to keep his head warm! I also made my first purchase….a Rolex watch…..well, a fake one anyway! After the market we came back to the hotel. The girls went swimming as I found myself dozing in the chair watching them….not good! Anyone that has travelled to China knows what it feels like at about 5 p.m. on the first few days. You hit this wall and you go into a complete zone and coming out of it is really hard! I decided that since I could barely stay awake, it might have been a good time to get them out of the pool!

Our guide today has been Susan. We all really like her! She is a believer so getting to talk to her about her life here as a believer has been more interesting to me than the history of the places we have been. I'm not sure how wise it is to share some of the things we talked about so I won't go into great detail. I am impressed that she meets the same group of people at 5 a.m. Monday through Friday to have an hour devotional with them prior to starting her day!

Tomorrow we are headed to The Great Wall in the morning. We then plan to go to an Acrobat Show in the evening.

(Pictures: Since I can't access blogger from China, I can't really tell what order the pics come up when I send them in an email. Some are from Temple of Heaven, Square and Forbidden City. I think there is one of Tom and I under the marriage timber/tree of The Forbidden City. I think we have that same photo from our trip in 2004. I also added a few from the Hutong Tour. No pictures of Dane's adoring fans, although I might post one of the group of Amway folks that had a hard time letting us get back to our tour! Too funny! No offense to Amway people, but you are all very much alike!)


  1. I told Chloe you were in China now...she thought it would be really cool if you would come home with another baby girl. Her words!!!

  2. I can't wait for you guys to wake up and begin your day, while we are sleeping:) AND....yes, I do remember the "5:00" hour.....Jim and I seemed to struggle the most with this, and, the the littlest J's...Jenny had no problem adjusting to the different time!! Jim and I would fall asleep mid-sentence while sitting outside of beloved Lucy's.....WAH...I wanta be back!! And, K, I can relate to keeping track of the girls...that is a day's job in and of itself, Lily seems so much more grown up since 2004:)

  3. We had a red-headed sibling in our travel group. It didn't help much that he was very tall too. He stood out and was the celebrity while the rest of us watched. Glad you're having a great time.

  4. Scary about the boys. I would have been worried, too. Glad all was well. Tom looks so happy to be on vacation/sabbatical. :-) He is beaming in every photo. LOL about the fake rolex. Maybe you can find some fake Nikes tomorrow. Ha ha.