This was our first real snow! Kenneth still thinks snow is terrible and I still think it's magical. The kids tend to side with me, magical and romantic! What better reason to curl up with some hot cocoa...
It is interesting to stand and look with my own eyes at something so iconographic and to realize that in person it looks just like the photos, but there are about a million people all jostling for their turn to look.
Cindy, our tour guide, was a great story teller. It was perfect for the kids (and for me). Her stories made everything come alive! We learned that when entering the city, the left arch was for officials, the right was for the emperor's family. The center was reserved for the emperor himself. I thought that the paths for the emperor were amazing. The stairs are for the servants carrying him, his sedan chair passed over the carved path.
I really thought it was funny how the Chinese do not have the same social rules about photographing strangers and their children.
No one seemed to think posing as lions was unusual either.
We landed in Beijing late in the afternoon, and navigated customs for the first time. We were met by our tour guide Cindy. She took us to the hotel and recommended that we eat in the hotel restaurant and get some sleep. Our travel philosophy is "we can sleep when we get home".
We ventured out on our own and found a shopping mall. We ate in a noodle shop. We were quite a spectacle! Everyone stopped and stared, a very sophisticated looking lady even sat outside the shop and snuck video footage of us eating noodles.
One thing that was really sad to see was the mall was filled with mostly american stores and a lot of rich looking 20 somethings, and just outside the streets were filled with poverty.