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What a long but great day! We began our by riding the subway! Our guide promised to give us an adventure and she did not disappoint. We made our way through the crowds at tiananmen square while Alice began our "history lesson". We continued on to The Forbidden City and were completely blown away by the beauty and history. Many of the buildings had a fresh coat of paint for the Beijing Olympics so the colors were very vivid. She told us about the social structure during the Ming and Ting Dynasties, how only people of high social status could enter the Forbidden City. I could go on and on with all that we learned today, but I will save that for another time. Next we had lunch at a restaurant located next to a beautiful lake. This restaurant is famous for Peking Duck which my husband has been patiently waiting to try. The food was delicious and the service was fantastic. Then we hired a rickshaw and took a journey through the Hutongs. The Hutongs are narrow alleyways in the old portion of Beijing where many people still live today. Most of the homes are owned by the government but a few are privately owned by families. We were invited to tour one such home that had been owned by the same family for 100 years. The owner of the home ,who is a retired teacher of Physics, was very kind. Her father had been a famous Beijing artist and now her son in law was carrying on the tradition as an artist. We purchased a beautiful hand painted scroll to hang in Jia's room!
Our very long day ended with a ride home on the public bus, a nap and room service! Tomorrow morning we will pack our bags, tour the Great Wall and then fly to Nanchang City so that we can get a good night's sleep before we get to meet Miss Jia! More updates to follow. Good night or good morning depending on where you are in the world!