15 May 2012
Team Animals Asia Takes Beijing By Storm!
9am sharp and our bus was bounding through the streets of Beijing en route to the awe-inspiring Temple of Heaven. With some of us having arrived just 8 hours before we departed, the group was incredibly high-energy! We danced with the locals, practiced some Tai Chi, sang a little karaoke, and even played a riveting game of Chinese hacky sack between posing for numerous group photos. There is no better morning activity than hanging out with Chinese people in Chinese parks set against the backdrop of the nation's dynastic past.
It wasn't long before we were back on the bus to make a mid-day pit stop at the city's slightly less famous but no less important Hongquiao pearl and fake good market. We bargained hard for shoes, bags, watches, fine linens, not-so-fine linens, and electronics before diving into what seemed like we bottomless saucepan of Xiabu Xiabu - Japanese hot pot. Without question, Joanne and Rob shined with their brilliant chopstick technique and willingness to dive right into absolutely everything we take on with a lightness and humor that keeps the whole group going.
The afternoon was spent walking across the chilling Tian'anmen square and through the cavernous yet spectacular forbidden city. Everyone really enjoyed the story of Cixi, the Empress Dowager who rose from a foot-bound concubine to shadow leader of China just over 100 years ago. What a tough lady! We finished the day with another fantastic meal and fear-inducing, brilliantly executed acrobatics show that saw boys and girls soaring through the air in an artistic explosion of something that is truly Chinese in character: frightening amounts of flexibility. Now it's off to bed as we have an early morning to hit the wall!
More soon from China. Go team!!!