More scenery as seen from the train (pardon the wires). We passed through very few small towns and hamlets. It was mostly very rural or very urban with very little in between.
Walking on Shamian Island. This was such a great place to stay. Even in a city of 14 million, we were somewhere it was so easy to walk around...we did not feel like we were in such a big city!
Yes, there is Starbucks in China. This definitely surprised the school kids. One girl raised her hand to let everyone know there is a Starbucks around the corner from her house. Another similarity. :)
So many brides....or really just photoshoots. I love how if you look closely you can see her Adidas poking out beneath her dress. I also love the colonial era building in the background.
Making friends at the park. The little girl on the left was eager to practice her English which was quite good! Her grandmother lives in the US. Middle son and the boy on the right took turns skateboarding all around.
Oldest son trying to get some reading in...
Morning music. The kids were really interested to see this picture and learn that older people would go to the park every morning to make music with their friends.
Walking to the pearl market, busy street scene, notice the Colonel in the bottom right of this picture. Also the lanterns as Lunar New Year approaches. This was familiar to the kids as there are a few kids in the class who celebrate Lunar New Year at home and one of the moms had come in to talk about it and the kids had decorated the classroom with lanterns.
This was an example of a big difference between China and the US. The kids loved this!
Hanging around Shamian Island. I can't stress enough what a pleasant place it was to walk around- not much traffic, really nice people, beautiful scenery. We spent a *lot* of time walking around and at the parks on the island.
more Shamian Island.
Taking care of business.
Juxtaposition of modern and more traditional China. Holiday Inn in the background, medicine market and apartments in the foreground.
We talked about how you could find just about anything in the Chinese markets from the things we might look for in a grocery store in the US- dried goods like noodles, beans, rice, lentils, fruit, dishes etc but also things used in traditional Chinese cooking and medicine. The differences were really cool to observe and definitely different from any other market I've been to. I often wished I could speak Chinese on this trip but was really feeling it this day. I am pretty familiar with medicinal herbs and there were about a million questions I had about what I saw!
Mushrooms. Wish I knew what kind.
That middle bag has snakes in it. :)
This one was NOT a picture I shared with the kindy kids, but I love it! I included this for my old friend, Matt, if he's reading this blog....
Ginseng. There were ginseng roots as big as a toddler.
This little girl was so sweet. We practiced English greetings together.
At the Great Wall.
Our wonderful guide with middle son. They got along famously!
More proposals and photo ops. You can clearly see that he is having no.fun.at.all. *sarcasm*
A very typical offering at the outdoor market, this photo is just out of order. So many types of beans and grains! I love it! It's totally inspiring.
Yep, I love street food and ate quite a bit in China. I know some folks are not a fan of eating street food but I've never had a problem and will continue to eat street food until I do! It's a great way to experience local culture and eat cheaply!
There really are no words for the wall until you experience it. I mean, you can read about it, see photos and documentaries and you know that it is called the GREAT Wall of course, but none of these things can convey how big it is and how much land it covers until you are there in person. It's breathtaking. It's an amazing feat of engineering when you realize how rugged the terrain is and how old it is...and also that it's basically a graveyard. Only the first part of these thoughts were shared with the kindy class.
Yes, the school mascot visited many sites in China.
I love this woman's hat. She requested a pic with our big boys, so I had to get one too.
Dwarfed by the entrance door to the Forbidden City. It has nine rows and nine columns of brass knobs, just to give you an idea of size.
Westie strikes again.
Again, the magnificence of this place can't be conveyed in writing. Every part of the Forbidden City is so deliberate and planned to have symbolic meaning and it was all built and being lived in sixty years before Columbus sailed for the New World. How 'bout them apples?
Sample of roof detail.
These big pots were scattered through the City to hold water in case of fire as the buildings were all wood! In the winder they would light a fire underneath to keep the water from freezing. The kids guessed corectly on what the big pots were for!