"By adopting a child and helping them reach their potential, they help us reach ours. An adopted child is not an unwanted child; to the contrary. They are a child who was searched for, prayed for, cried for, begged for; received by arms that ached, making empty hearts full. Love is meant to be shared." Author unknown

Sunday, April 24, 2016

April 23, 2106 – Great Wall and Exploring Beijing

After a decent night, the best first night of sleep I've had in China in three trip, we got up and prepared for the Great Wall visit. Always good to start the day with a good breakfast, this hotel offers a nice buffet breakfast with lots of options, such as: steamed vegetables, cereal, pastries, bacon, baked beans, fruit, yogurt, and much more. After filling up, we headed down to the lobby to meet the other three families who arrived the day prior. Included among them are two families who this is their first adoption journey and one who is a veteran like us!

They were pretty fascinated by the mountains.  
First time they've every really seen mountains in person!

Our trip to the Great Wall took over an hour but our guide, George, talked to us the entire time! He told us of many Chinese traditions, including the jade bangle for girls and zodiac necklace for boys. He spoke of the Chinese thoughts on “per-destination”, which included his miraculous birth story. Let's just say that he is the last of 5 children in his family and his mother attempted to abort him more than once, without success. He truly believe that he was per-destined to live and be an adoption guide, which he has done a great job at. He has been a guide for over 8 years with the agency.

Entrance to the Great Wall!

Chinese lady photo bombed us on purpose.  Turned around and she was giggling.  
I gave her a big grin in return.

And the hike up begins!

Yes, it was that steep.

Selfie! We've made it about half way!

So glad it was a clear day!  The other two times I have visited it has been smoggy.

Logan took a seat at this point and waited for us to finish the trek up to the highest point.  His cold has slowed him down, making breathing a bit more challenging.  What a beautiful day!

This is the top!!!

Time to head back down, and that is almost more challenging with how steep it is.

I really wasn't taking a picture of this guy, but it sure does look like it!  He appears happy that I'm taking a picture.

Breath taking!  We climbed up the left side and continued further up.  
Then on our way down, we came down the right side.

The Great Wall experience never gets dull, even when it is your third time. We had two options, go left and climb a steep area of the wall or go right for a less steep area – the kids made a consensus to climb the the steep side, we were the only family to choose this route. We had just over an hour to be back in time to do a quick souvenir shop visit before departing. Our oldest son's goal = get to the highest point in that half hour time we had to go up, leaving us a half hour to get back down. Did we make it? Yes! Just in time! Our son Logan made it a good portion of the way but he has had a cold and I think that inhibited his breathing a bit.

We then went to the National Jade factory to learn about the various types and colors of jade. We then6 had the opportunity to do a little shopping, which I took advantage of because I needed to get gifts for Esther and Xavier that we have gotten for our other kiddos. We purchase a jade bracelet for Esther and a jade zodiac for Xavier. These items will be given to them when they are a bit older, with an explanation of the cultural traditions behind these items. We then had a Chinese family style lunch, which included many dishes to choose from – mini-egg rolls, steamed dumplings, watermelon, orange chicken, beef stir fry, tea, greens, chicken stir fry, french fries, and other dishes I cannot recall. It was a lot of food for six people but it was good – at least I thought so!
How our table looked to start!

The many dishes they kept bringing out. 
These are the left overs - way too much food for six people but it was good!

 The Jade Factory Restaurant

On the drive back to the hotel, we were taken by the Olympic stadium and Water Cube. The kids though this was really cool but wished we would have been able to get a little closer. Hard to believe that the first time I was in Beijing was the spring after the Winter Olympics had been held there. I've gotten to see this site all three times!

We opted to decline the acrobatic show in the afternoon and instead chose to explore the area around the hotel, on our own. We hung out in our rooms for a bit, then walked down to the 7 Eleven that is just across the street and down a bit from our hotel. Kailey is not a fan of crossing the street but I have to say crossing the street here in Beijing has been easier than other places I've stayed. We picked up a jug of water and a few Chinese snacks to explore (Smokey BBQ Doritos, some strawberry marshmallow puffs with jell in the middle, mini-cakes covered in chocolate, and then some jelly bean type candy coated in what looked like coconut and then chocolate). After taking those items up to the room and taste testing, we went out and explored about a half mile block around the hotel. There are lots and lots of shops. After over an hour of exploration, we found Pizza Hut and got us a stuff crust pepperoni pizza – brave, I know!

 The entrance to the Sunworld Dynasty Hotel.

We returned to the hotel to begin repacking up and getting ready for bed. Our luggage is to be out in the hallway by 6 a..m. For the bell boy to pick up. We leave the hotel at 7 am to head to the train station! In bed by shortly after 9 p.m. - those who know me know I am rarely in bed this early but jet lag and several hours of walking had taken a toll on this girl.  Tomorrow we depart for Zhengzhou, Henan to prepare for Gotcha day!

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Pictures of our Journey to bring Tegan and Corban home!