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Published: August 29th 2010
the Space Needle.
I knew it was coming, I just didn't know when... they have started taking us to factory stores. Today we went to a pearl showroom and a jade showroom. These are big and overwhelming. They give you a short briefing on how it is made, how to tell real from fake, etc. Then you wander awkwardly around a big room with glass cases while saleswomen hover and say "Just look. Just give a look." And everything is much more expensive than it would be on the street. However, it is required by the government for tour agencies to do this, so I do not blame the guide.
We went to the Summer Palace in the morning, which is arranged around a lake. There were tourists from Korea and Japan as well, and locals. One Chinese man told us about learning English, and he impressed that all cultures should live in peace. He seemed very well traveled. Many beautiful willows and lily pads.
We also visited the Olympic Center. Right next to the Water Cube is the biggest McDonald's I have ever seen in my life. We walked past to the Bird's Nest. From the outside it was impressive, and
Really? Me too.
huge. But we paid to go inside (By the way, going into any historical place in China requires a bag check and a metal detector, just like an airport. Except we are not convinced that the metal detectors even work half the time) and I was surprised that the center of the stadium seemed so small. Chinese men were replacing the turf on the field. We sat in the stadium seats and took pictures. I am already sick of taking pictures.
Wenfujing was next... the best shopping street in Beijing according to our guide. It has Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Giorgio Armany, and many European and Chinese shops. We visited two foreign bookstores. One was six stories. The prices were as high as the prices in America, so I chose not to purchase anything. A few of the guys in the group were approached my ordinary looking Chinese women, chatted up and asked to attend an art show. A couple went and it turned out to be legit, but some of the group had heard of this sort of thing happening with foreigners being mugged at the end. And they were only approaching the boys in our group, so it
the Summer Palace.
For dinner, we ate Uighur cuisine, which began with a plate of pastry-type things. There were also lamb kabobs, roast beef, pate... I could go on, but they give us too much food. Then we went to a hotel and watched an abbreviated version of Peking Opera. It was hilarious and wonderful. I love the drawn out words and facial expressions and everything involved. I think I could do a full length one, maybe after I learn more Chinese.
Back at the hotel, Clare, Ryan and I tried to find Christiana's (sp?) room and could not decide between two neighboring doors. When an Asian teenager came out of one of them and sprinted across the hall in just a t-shirt, and hopefully some underwear, we figured it out. Christiana came back with us and we sat in our room chatting while they all drank beer. I tried it the other night at dinner and couldn't handle it. It tastes terrible.
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