We have been busy, busy, busy. There are lots of activities here in the Jia and we have our hands in most of them. In our spare time we have managed to do some traveling, but have not had an opportunity to post about our travels until now. On Dec. 9th through the 11th we traveled to Beijing. We offered to take students with us and 7 of them jumped on the Erbes bandwagon. After classes on Friday, we caught a ride on the bullet train from Shanghai to Beijing. Only 4.5 hours traveling at about 218 mph. Fast, quick and easy - like almost all the transportation here in China. The first obstacle was finding our hotel/apartment. Apple maps, Google maps, and even the booking website placed our hotel right in the center of what looked like a government facility. After about an hour of struggling with the locals to find our hotel, Stella managed to get a hotel worker on the phone and had her talk us through the route from the subway to the hotel. A bit stressful but we made it safe and sound. We finally headed out to dinner at about 9:00 PM. A 30 minute walk placed us at The Cheesecake Factory in the Wangfujing shopping district. We got in just before closing and feasted on some American comfort food. It was FANTASTIC!!! The portions were way beyond our ability to eat it all, so "dao-bao" (doggie-bags) for everyone. We then headed home for some rest before our next day's adventures. Andy (our tour guide) and his driver picked us up in the morning and took us on an amazing 2 day tour of Beijing. Our itinerary included: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Peking Duck lunch, Mutianyu Great Wall, Olympic Venue, Temple of Heaven, Hutong Rickshaw ride w/lunch at a local's house. This was the way to go. Andy was a wealth of knowledge and took very good care of us along the way. If you are interested in booking a Bejing trip (or other nearby locations) contact us for his information and he will take good care of you. As you will see below, the sights were amazing and a great time was had by all. In addition to all the activities above, we rode a toboggan down from the top of the Great Wall and ate 31 Flavors ice cream, had a local artist paint our family name in Chinese to hang in our house, had a rickshaw driver "graze" some guy in a wheel chair during our tour through the Hutong, ate scorpions at Wangfujing Pedestrian Street (at least the kids did) and watched older people dance at night in front of a church. Yes, this is China.
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