Word has it that this didn't post for some reason...resending...
My beautiful girls are snoozin' after a long, hot day in the sun (my sunburned face is proof of that....why oh why didn't I listen to my beautiful and intelligent wife??? "Honey wear the hat I just bought you!" and "Honey, put on some suntan lotion...you will get a sunburn!!").
Our morning started (after breakfast at the hotel of course) with a trip to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. It was almost numbing to be standing in this place that most people have seen pictures of. You could almost taste the history in the air. We were very lucky to have such a beautiful day. I have to say, I had heard about how bad the smog is in China, especially in Beijing...but aside from a couple of mornings it has really been fine. They have planted trees, bushes and plants everywhere so not only does it make a very pretty city, but the oxygen that all the plants give off really is helping with the air quality. So back to the visits....the square is huge, and standing in front of the famous picture of Chairman Mao was incredible. Lots more Chinese ladies in awe of us with Clarissa (as well as the other families in our group). I got some looks from some ladies because Clarissa didn't have socks or shoes on....."but it's 27 degrees out!!! She won't catch a cold!!!!). The Forbidden City is right beside the square. We walked from one end to the other...it's HUGE!!! Our guides Vivian and Fe (they have just been awesome the whole time we've been in Beijing, our trip would not have been the same without them), as they always do, shared lots of information about the history of each building, courtyard, and garden that we walked through. Just standing there thinking about how old everything is, and all that has happened in each place over the years was really moving. Some of the courtyards have had the stones replaced over the years, but in some they were the originals that we were standing on...imagine all of the people who have walked on those very stones!! And the artwork and detail in their buildings....again some were touched up before the olympic games, but many are in the original state.
When we got back to the hotel we got Clarissa's passport back with her Canadian Visa in it and we got a letter confirming that she is now a Canadian citizen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
WOO HOO!!!!!!! A big celebration in room 774!! Another of many very special days.
Then it was off to a restaurant for dinner and a "Leaving China" party! Dinner was excellent and Yulin had a magician come in. Some of the families are heading home tomorrow, so tonight was the last night that we were all together. Friday is our turn to take the long journey home. We are loving every minute of being here, but there is a part of us that is now starting to really look forward to getting home and seeing our family and friends (and of course the bunnies and the bird)....and getting Clarissa into a regular routine.
We had a free day tomorrow, but someone (won't say who, but let's just acknowledge that he is extremely intelligent) asked Yulin if she could get the bus to take those of us who weren't leaving to the Bird's Nest so that we could take the tour inside. So thanks to this wonderful person (who shall remain nameless) 5 families are heading out tomorrow at 9:30am. We originally had a plan to order room service for breakfast and lay low for the day....but we'll go with the flow ;-)
In addition to the guides that we have had, we have also had a photographer going with us everywhere taking pictures and video. He will be putting together a video compilation and slideshow of pictures to music that we are going to buy for a very reasonable price (my 1500 pictures aren't enough!!). He took a liking to Clarissa and was always taking shots of her, so we should get some really good ones.
Ok, let me pick a few pictures from today to attach, then off to bed I go. I could have slept in if that extremely intelligent, brilliant person didn't come up with the idea to take another trip.
Canada, our little family...including our official new little Canadian...is coming home soon!!!
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