Friday, April 9, 2010

Today Started out with a Bang...

...literally. We were picked up by our guide and taken to the Hutong where we climbed the drum tower to watch the drum performance that used to tell residents the time. These neighborhoods are where all Beijingers lived up until about 30 years ago. They are communal courtyards surrounded by low buildings where several generations of families would live. They are slowly being replaced by high rise apartments as things change in China and the population is getting younger.Our guide (maybe 30 years old) told us her whole story about her family and how she is the second daughter and was not allowed to attend school because she was a girl. She had to teach herself English to make a better life for herself. It was sad to hear, but good to know things are changing, slowly. It was very cool to see how many people used to and still do live in Beijing, which seems like such a modern city. We rode through the Hutong on a rickshaw because cars cannot fit.

We then enjoyed a wonderful lunch of Peking duck at a very schmancy restaurant. We fully anticipated the meal to be very turned out to be about $15- a person. The food is soooo good here. It's just very different. I'm smelling things I've never smelled before and for sure tasting things I can't place. For example, we had a delicious dessert of hot almond pudding with hot papaya...who knew hot fruit was so good?!

Tonight we are seeing an acrobatics show.

All in all, I really love China so far. The people are super nice and it is steeped in history and mystique.

Until tomorrow!