Sorry we haven't posted anything in about a week -- We were having the most difficult time downloading pictures in China!
Our trip through Antartica -- Oops, I mean Bejing -- was great! The temperature hovered between about -1 degrees and -10 degrees daily, and we both had so many layers of clothes on we could hardly move! :) Other than the freezing temperatures, we loved Beijing. It was definitely a lot different than what we expected. They have been doing so much work on the city to prepare for the Olympic games this summer, amd have done a great job so far!
Our first day in Beijing was spent exploring the Hutongs of the city -- Hutongs are the little alleyways that most Chinese live in. They are full on homes, street food vendors, tea shops, etc. The hutongs have existed in Beijing for the past 700 years, but recently the city has started to bulldoze them to make way for bigger contruction projects. Our hotel was located in one of the hutongs, so we were glad we had the chance to experience the daily life of the hutong before they all disappear!
The next day, we headed over to Tian'anmen Square, which is the largest public square in the world. Most of you will probably recognize the picture of Mao, which is one of the most famous images of the square. Bryan also visited the Memorial Hall, which actually has Mao's body on display, preserved after he died in the 70's.
The next stop was the Forbidden City. The Forbidden City is in the heart of Bejing. It was built in 1406 as a home to the emperors. The emperors lived there until about 1925, amd today it has been transformed into a museum. The city itself covers a million square meters, so we were not able to see some of it (a lot was also under construction), but we did the best that we could! It really was quite amazing!
After the Forbidden City, we decided to head over to Wangfujing shopping center, which is one of Beijing's main streets. Very modern, clean, and a lot going on! We had lunch at a little snack street filled with street vendors. We were able to sample a lot of local food for a very cheap price! Bryan actually decided that scorpion on a stick sounded appetizing, so he decided to try one out! I made a video of it just so all of you could watch too!
The last place of the day was a stop at the Lama Temple. The Lama temple is basically a Buddhist monastery for lamas. It is very impressive, full of temples covered with gold and Buddha images.
Over all, a pretty eventful first day in Beijing, but a lot more to go!