The tour guide experience

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January 18th 2019
Published: January 18th 2019
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Wow. Well it's been a whirlwind of a week for sure! Definitely in a good way. Having Dad here was brilliant and it was fun to be able to be a sort of tour guide!
We went to the Summer Palace on Saturday, and had a lovely meal together afterwards. Pretty much every explanation board in front of buildings there read “Burnt down in 1860 by Anglo-French forces”! Then on Sunday we visited the Lama temple before going to my Bible study group. Fun to see the massive 18m tall Buddha and all the different rooms there. Then Bible study was a great time as always and I love that Dad now has an idea of what that's like. That's kind of the feeling for all of his trip really - I'm really glad he now knows what that's like.
I have to say that Monday was the highlight of the week for me because that's when we went to the Great Wall. So I had planned to just take a bus out to see the most popular/touristy section, but a on Friday an au pair friend, Nathan, had told me about a guy who takes people out to hike more wild parts of the wall. Managed to contact him and sort out an expedition on Monday! So glad I did because it was just incredible. He sorted all the transport for us - we were a group of 8 altogether, myself, Dad, Nathan and then 4 French people! Fun to speak some French with them. It was around a 2km hike up to the Wall and then we probably hiked around 6km on the wall itself. We started at a completely wild and unrestored section, which meant it was very narrow and steep with bushes growing everywhere and loose remains of stairs! The restored section we came to was much easier to walk on, and really very beautiful. Dad and I got a great picture both doing handstands! I regretted not doing one last time I went, so I'm glad that's done now. Steven, our guide, then took us down into the local village where we ate a lovely meal at one of his friends’ houses! Completely exhausted by the end, but a simply awesome experience.
Managed to get up and out for church on Tuesday, again great that Dad could experience that and meet my friends there. It's generally my busiest subway ride, so being squashed together was interesting. It was hilarious to see the subway guards physically shoving people in - “come on you can do it!” Then Tuesday afternoon we explored Tianmen Square and the Forbidden City! Dad even sampled some scorpions in Wangfujing! I did another handstand in Tianmen square...might be becoming a thing. We finished the day with some noodles and then waffles!
It's been such a surreal experience being together with Dad in Beijing, but so normal at the same time because he's my Dad! I can't say his Chinese improved much, although by the end he could just about say thank you without making me cringe hard. I'm so grateful for all the time the family gave us to go and explore - made things much easier.
What wasn't so great is that I've had a cold for pretty much the entire time he was here! I even lost my voice for a couple of days which was a real shame. Definitely my fault - hiking on the Great Wall in negative temperatures with a cold wasn't the best way to get better, but we had to make the most of time. Bella has given me lots of potions which I'm loyally taking, and I seem to be on the mend at last.
We leave for the US on Monday! Really crept up on me, what with this week being so busy. Prayer that travel is safe would be much appreciated, along with prayers that my cold clears up before then! Because we're away for 5 weeks, it means that I'll have to say goodbye to some au pair friends now as they won't be here when I get back.
Next time I write I'll have actually moved continents! More fitting for a “Travel Blog” I suppose. Bye for now.

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