If you don't want the details - sorry! I am trying to paint a pic for the rest of you who want to really know about this experience!
Wow. I would have to write a book to give you all the details of this day. Unbelievable. It was an experience. We started out the day at our hotel breakfast buffet that is HUGE. It has some really INTERESTING things for breakfast. Looks like part lunch. Then we loaded on our medium size shuttle/tour bus and headed to Tienanmen Square. Rosa and Maggie, our guides are AWESOME. They have such great personalities and are so wonderful to us. They are both probably in their later 20's. They did tell us that everything we see in Beijing will be VERY crowded b/c their Labor Day holiday is May 1-7 and everything is closed and massive amounts of people are here from all over China visiting the tourists sites.
Macy received loads of attention today. As we walk past crowds of people would turn to look at her and point and watch....then if I stopped with our group for any reason at all....people would began motioning asking if they could take pictures with her. We are talking non-stop. I can't remember if I have told this already - but Brad came up with a way to help her understand what is going on -on her level. He told her that people think she is a movie star so they want to take her picture and talk to her. So she did extremely well with all of the crowds. Those of you who know Macy - know she is a "I want my space" kid - and does not like lots of people touching her. So it was nothing short of a MIRACLE that she allowed people to touch her all day!
Every 200 yards or so our guides would stop and tell us a little history about what we were seeing and EVERY TIME we stopped - hoards of people would surround Macy's stroller wanting to take pics with her. It was crazy. Little kids would come up to and say, "hello" - getting a chance to practice their English on us Westerners. One man even came up to me and wanted to have his picture taken with me and his child. I was thinking - "I don't have blond hair! Why do you want your pic taken with me?" Macy did so well for a long time - that I was afraid it was going to start getting to her. So I got to where I would wheel her into the middle of our group each time we stopped so people couldn't see her.
One of the saddest things was upon walking down the street to get to Tienanmen square and while there we saw some troubling sites. On the street there were beggars with cans asking for money. The guides had told us not to stop for anything. Just keep walking. There was one man that looked very scroungy bowing over a sick looking child moaning with a can beside the child for money. It just looked fake. If your child was really sick you wouldn't be out moaning over him among thousands of people - you would be trying to get him help! Our guides told us it is common to borrow children and drug them for these begging sessions. Then we saw a little boy - probably around 10 - sitting on and wheeling around on a skateboard looking thing. He had club feet and they looked like they were rotting. He had a can to beg also. It was very sad. Upon asking our guide about it - she said that there is no reason for children to be like this. The parents have made the choice to not fix this medical issue - b/c help is available for it. I can't imagine choosing for your child to suffer just so you can beg.
Then we headed to the Forbidden City. It is a massive palace. Huge buildings all linked by courtyards that we WALKED through for what seemed like hours. It is actually the site that you see in Mulan - at the end where she is swinging around the columns to get the bad guys. Macy pointed up to them and said, "That is where Mulan went whoooo, whooh, around those poles! Where are the bad guys?" :)
Then, b/c we are having to stay this extra day in Beijing b/c of the holiday - we got a SPECIAL treat. Most groups don't get to do any of this. We were taken to the Hutong District to eat lunch with a family in their home. Most of the people in Beijing live in the huge, tall apartment buildings. But there is a group called the Hutongs that get to live in one/two story dwellings. They said the houses in the area are mostly over 200 years old. They look like concrete huts put together like a maze with connecting little alley/streets. Our entire group took rickshaws into this area to get to the house. We had a mighty convoy of about 20 rickshaws - each being driven by a man on a bicycle. It was a very neat experience. The house we visited was very nice on the inside - but they said this is not common. This lady's family line and government job enabled her to have a nicer home than most. They made us a wonderful lunch and it was very neat to experience this.
Our guide told us if there are 2 cylinder looking things above the door of a home - it is a poor family. 4 cylinders - rich family. Someone from 2 can not marry someone with a 4 above their home. We then took the rickshaws to the Hutong shopping district and just walked through it. We were standing in our little tourist crowd listening to the guide when Brad whispered to me - that guys is drawing me! Some man was intently staring at Brad and drawing on a plate. It ended up being amazing! We bought it from him for $3. Brad thinks he looks like Hank Hill (from that Texas cartoon) in the picture! I then asked if he would draw Macy - and while he was drawing her we were surrounded by a huge throng people. They blocked the street and cars were honking b/c they couldn't even drive through b/c the crowd.
Back to the rickshaws and they took us to a preschool for deaf children. Then back to the hotel and shower time! When I got on the bus to leave I told everyone - OK, lets sing. "If you stink and you know it clap your hands, If you sweated today and you know it clap your hands,..." To which a lot of people joined in singing and clapping! I can't imagine how much hotter Guangzhou will be than Beijing. After an hour of rest we loaded the bus again and went to a restaurant for dinner. There was dancing entertainment and the food was good. I have not eaten much since being here - just a general queasiness from lack of sleep and trying to eat with chopsticks. I usually just give up - b/c it is too much effort. They had forks tonight and I feel like I actually got 1/2 a meal in. I was the only one in our group that used a fork! I am a loser!
One thing I have been having fun with if every one's reaction when I introduce my mom. They don't say anything - but they all have that look of "How old did she have to be when she had her - she looks so young...." So tonight one of the guys said - I have to ask you - how old is your mom? I told him I would tel him later! So on the way back to the hotel I asked if could address the entire group and tell a little about my story (the guides generally talk on a mic to everyone while we are riding). So I tell the story of my adoption - tears are flowing for some people - and I let everyone know how old mom is! It was fun.
I went to bed at 8 PM last night and got up at 5:30 this morning b/c Macy was wide awake. Finally a night of sleep. I only slept 3 hours last night. Just couldn't sleep. Today we are off to the Beijing International Church (which we know is supposed to actually be and Assemblies of God church - so we are excited!), then off to a Duck Dinner, and to the Summer Palace and if we are not passing out from exhaustion we will see the Acrobats tonight. They keep these touring in Beijing days really full, b/c once we receive our babies - we will just focus on them and paperwork. I am trying to give you condensed version and I know this is scattered - but my time to blog is rushed and at weird hours. We love you all.