Sunday, October 4, 2009

More of Drew, National Day

I need to tell you more about our visit with Drew and the last 8 days. This is how he looked when we met him at Beijing Capital Airport...

Pretty good considering he had been traveling all over Europe for the past six weeks! He had lost a bunch of weight from being sick. Greta and Ivy were so excited to see him!

Greta had made him a welcome sign for our apartment door:

First stop, the neighborhood ping pong table, of course! Eric trounced Drew but it was only because of the lighting...

Eric came home from a trip to London that day with a new acquisition. Why am I continually surprised at the expanding bicycle collection... matter which country we live in?!!!!?!!!

This one is pretty cool though and hopefully he can take it on the subway and cut his commute down significantly. The subway / taxi combo takes about 55 minutes and today he rode the folding bike the whole way in 40. He tried to take it on the subway last week, but they wouldn't allow him on with it. Hopefully that was just because of the holiday and the crowds around the city.

The first place the girls wanted to take Drew was the zoo~

This time all the animals were more active because it was a bit cooler. Check out the panda posing for us! We were somewhat appalled at the big cat house. It's right out of the '40's - pretty dismal. The animals all looked healthy, but the cages were

pretty small.

We got to see the zookeeper feeding them huge chunks of raw meat. Gross.

Did you hear about the HUGE GIGANTIC 60th National Day celebration on October 1st? This is the anniversary of Mao declaring the People's Republic of China. Well, we were so excited to be here for it when we first came to Beijing... couldn't wait to go down to Tiananmen Square to watch!

Well, we found out around mid September that this was NOT going to happen. The government basically shut down the entire area around the parade route way back in September. They also banned kite flying and carrier pigeons mid- September. Both Tianenman Square East and West subway stations have been closed as well (and remain closed even after the parade is over).

We waited until Saturday to try to go down there. Saturday was also a big day because it was October 3rd, Mid-Autumn Festival day (Zhong Qie Jie in Chinese). This is like Octoberfest with a big emphasis on the full moon. It's celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th moon. In China people get over a week off work during this time. A lot of people come to the capital of China - Beijing - to celebrate National Day. Not sure why when they have to watch the big parade on TV anyway, but...

So we headed to Tienanmen Square on the 3rd via subway. We had to get off at Xidan because the two closest stations were closed. We got off and started walking east along the big parade street toward T. Square and the Forbidden City. It was jam packed with people. Rivers of humanity filled the wide sidewalks and I was thankful that they did not all carry umbrellas to shade themselves from the sun like usual.

There were guards lining the sidewalks every 30 feet; some were unarmed some had guns that shoot sandbags, and some had machine guns. Order was definitely kept but I never felt afraid.

The girls were mobbed as usual by people wanting to pose with them and then, sure enough, Drew got approached by this guy!

No one ever asks to take MY picture... I'm starting to get a complex! I am seriously thinking of making up a laminated sign "1 Kuai per photo" for extra income.

We decided to skip the Forbidden City due to the high level of congestion so we just wandered around looking at the floats on display that had been in the parade.

Toward dusk we headed for the night market near Wangfujing Street. We thought we'd just grab some street food for dinner. I'm not sure why the group didn't want to eat these...

No kidding. Scorpions. And you can't really tell by this picture but they were all squiggling on the skewers and trying to sting. I should have taken more pictures. There were grubs of all types, seahorses, starfish (or sea stars is the correct terminology I think). Then they had some normal meats on skewers, but since we really couldn't tell what was chicken we just had a few small non-meat snacks and spent the rest of the time just oggling.

Okay I'm unable to add any more photos, so I'll publish this one now.

Miss you,

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