Our first stop was Tiananmen Square. There were sooooo many people there, and our guide says it is regularly like that. It is the largest city square in the world. Nationals flock the building where Mao's body lies in a crystal coffin. They venerate him as if he were a god. If you could have seen the thousands of people in line to get in to this building you would have been blown away.
Security is so tight and we were forbidden from taking any photos of any of the guards or police. Cameras were everywhere on tall light posts. It's amazing to be in such a place of fame that is also a place of such oppression in reality.
Tiananmen Gate to the Forbidden City
if you look hard enough you can see a guard off Peter's left shoulder
We then entered into the gate (just behind us in photo) to go into the Forbidden City. Many of you probably already know this, but it was called the Forbidden City because commoners were forbidden to come in and the royalty, once behind the gate, were forbidden from ever leaving. It dates back to the 1400's and was part of 2 main dynasties-- the Ming and the Qing dynasty's.
Isaac took a ton of pictures today-with film-I can't wait to see his artistic take on the day
All of the above photos are taken inside the Forbidden City
We had a yummy chinese lunch and dinner:
ok, I wouldn't call this yummy but Peter said it was good
Next we visited the Pearl Market. Then on to the Summer Palace (gardens) where we had our infamous phone call from our boy "Lucas". Then on to the Silk Factory.
Peter and Isaac's best immitation of a silk factory worker
Isaac was entertained by another hideous manikan
Then a quick stop for a photo op at the Olympic sites:
The Dragon Building built for the Olympics in 2008
The Bird's Nest-what a structure
And Finally the Tea tasting to top off the day at Dr. Tea:
A fine day in Beijing and memories for a lifetime.
As I close I have to recall how the Marco Polo Bridge will always be a sweet memory for us today. We are eagerly anticipating the next day and a half before we meet the boy that God already knew we would be bringing home way before we even knew. As we have exchanged stories with other families today, I'm blown away at God's intricate design for families. And today the "bridge" for our family was huge!
I am reflective because there is another story of another bridge. It is called Pooh Sticks bridge and it is located in England. Back in 2006, Peter, Isaac and I traveled to visit friends, and found a quaint little off the road place where the stories of Winnie the Pooh were inspired. It's called the 100 acre Wood, and there is a small gift shop. The 3 of us walked through the woods and got to a small wooden bridge that had a sweet familiarity about it. If you've ever read Winnie the Pooh, you know that Pooh, Christopher Robin, Tigger and Eyore played a game called Pooh Sticks. The would drop a stick (or pinecone) off one side of the bridge and run to the other side to watch it come out to see who's stick came out first and that was the winner.
Well, when we went there, the 3 of us played our own game of Pooh sticks. But before we got to the bridge everyone had to collect a stick to play. So we did. We tossed the sticks into the water, ran to the other side, and out came FOUR sticks. Peter had added another stick to our game---one for our sweet Jacob boy. And his stick won the race!
As I think about how much our life is about to change once again, I'm reflecting on bridges.
For me Bridges are part of sweet moments and memories.
I will never forget Pooh Sticks Bridge. I will never forget my boy Jacob.
I will never forget Marco Polo Bridge. I will never forget Lucas's first English word to me "Mom"! on that bridge.
I need to go to bed now.
good night all.