Thursday: We finally arrived in Beijing, China. The start of the trip was a bit rocky. Our flight was delayed 2 hours to fix the cabin cooling system. After taking off, it was still a bit hot, but cooling slowly. The captain said his cockpit thermometer was still showing 94 degrees. Hmmm, we couldn't help but wonder how well the 747 was handling with sweaty hands at the helm. Y settled in just fine and we endured, if not completely enjoyed the flight. I mean 13 hours in a plane is still 13 hours in a plane. Anyhow, after 2 lunches, 4 movies, and numerous drinks and snacks, we arrived at 4:30pm, Beijing time. It was bright and sunny the whole way. Somehow we misplaced a night. Jetlag was beginning to sink in by the time we arrived at hotel for the evening. We had a light dinner in the hotel and then called the kids on the laptop. Our video call worked great on Skype. It was really nice to see and talk with everyone, and discover that they were doing just fine. We were exhausted and went right to bed following the call.
Friday: We were up early and again had breakfast at the hotel. We decided to walk to Tianamen Square- about ½ hour away. It turned out just fine, though it was clear we were not in the "tourist" section of town. Plenty of sites to see. Plenty of people checking us out. We walked around the square, bartered for a few items with the locals, and then walked into the Forbidden City. We didn't have a lot of time to spend there before having to return to our hotel (an extremely hair raising cab ride) in order to check out and move to our next location, the Mao'er Hutong B&B on the north side of the Forbidden City. The entrance to this Hutong is down a long narrow drive and is extremely non-descript, however once inside it turned out to be amazing. Check out the photo's, it's hard to describe. China of old, elegant, art pieces and silk everywhere, etc. Far more impressive and interesting than any hotel we've ever stayed at. Everybody's napping as I write this. In a bit we're off to shop at silk alley, find some dinner, and then we have arranged for a driver to pick us up and take us to see a Chinese Acrobats performance this evening. Tomorrow is the Great Wall and the Summer Palace with our guide, Mr. Lei.