...so, we went to Beijing and Xi'an for our National Day Week Holiday (Oct 4 - 10). Flying into Beijing, we found ourselves staying at a great little hotel which is also a youth hostel, in a hutong - this is an old courtyard style housing area where four houses face in with little roads between them and "plumbing" shared in the public outhouses! Very quaint and disappearing fast as they are torn down to put in shopping centers and new housing. It was our kind of area, though - watching people cook strange street food, smiling at the little old ladies, navigating on our rented OLD bikes. We went to the Great Wall, Ming Tombs, a jade factory, and a cloision (sp?) factory. We played a gourd pipe in Ti'anmen Square in front of that big Mao thing, and were like Mickey and Minnie- posing for pictures with everyone. At the Temple of Heaven we parted ways with George, our wonderful little monkey - we hope he catches up with us soon! Enjoyed the shopping - antique and uh not, immensly.
Xi'an is a coool city. We stayed in the youth hostel there, which was in an old style building, again with court yard, had a breakfast with BUTTER (the size and thickness of a dime) and eggs and bacon...mmmm...ahhhh....then off to the Terra Cotta Warriors. We had come to Xi'an by train, first class and sort of relaxing (overnight arriving at 7:30am) and were on the bus by 9:30. Went to a terra cotta factory and carpet factory (this is their scam) and were back in time for dinner in the Muslem section. Had a lovely next day with some friends we met from Holland, inspite of being pickpocket victims (Caz's camera). Off again by train to Ningbo.
Since being back at school more of our classes have started, we found we will be in the hotel indefinately, and we went back to Putoshan and Hangzhou. WE LOVE HANGZHOU. This time we found we were there for a huge parade- complete with DRAGONS, beauty queens, bands and floats. We really hit the silk market hard this time.
Students took us to the Opium Wars museum today and we have been finding out more about the culture, language, and laws. Caz has a chinese name: Cai Se and my working title is : Su Zhi...we will see.