Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ni Hao from China

The 14 hour flight to Beijing was uneventful – I took 3 real books, a book on MP3, 4 magazines, 1 newspaper, cross-stitching, 2 DVDs, 2 laptops, and a journal in my carry-on and barely touched a thing. We landed in Beijing at 5am and the GWM tour guides met us and took us to the hotels.

Since Jilly G wasn’t getting in until later in the evening, I decided to play uber-tourist and went on a tour with some people I’d met at the airport. First we went to a pearl factory, which kinda reminded me of the pearl diver show at Sea World. Each of these freshwater oysters has about 20+ pearls inside, which explains why they’re so much cheaper than the 1-pearl-per-oyster salt water variety.

Next we went to lunch and then on to a silk factory. I’m glad we ate first before seeing these nasty little silkworms. It was cool to see how they stretch the silk and then layer it to become a comforter, but the worms themselves were a little on the "ewww" side. (Which would not be the first time I utter that phrase in China, I'm learning.)
Then we went to see the Olympic Village and the Bird’s Nest, which isn’t finished so we just got to walk around the perimeter. My pictures aren’t great because it was so hazy (the pollution in Beijing makes LA smog look like a spring day in the Swiss Alps – more on that later), but it was amazing to see.
Last, we went to a tea tasting, which is kinda like a wine tasting but without the hangover. I'm standing next to a tower o' tea in this picture.
All in all, Day One was amazing and I can’t believe I’m here! (Click here to see ALL pictures.)

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