Monday, October 29, 2007

The Great Wall

On Saturday, October 20, Tom, Jack and Jed and Grandma and Grandpa visited the Great Wall. It was a beautiful day and everyone had a great time. Huck was ill so I stayed home with him. At this section of the wall, you can take a cable car up and walk about 2 km and then take a toboggan down. It is a lot of fun.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Jed hard at work making jiaozi (dumplings).

The lady of the hutong house, preparing the dough for the children.

Us in the Pedi Cab.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Jed field trip

On Wednesday I accompanied Jed's class on a China Link field trip. In school, they study the local culture and take occasional field trips to see what they've studied. So, we went to to visit a Hutong (old Chinese village), the old Drum Tower with the ceremonial drums, and a local park that was behind the Forbidden City.

At the Hutong, we took Pedi Cab rides ("taxis" pulled by bicyclists), visited a home and made jiaozi (dumplings). The kids loved it. The house was clearly made nicer for the benefit of tourists. It even had an indoor toilet which is not at all common in the villages. They have communal bathrooms with squatty potties. The woman of the house had prepared the dough and the kids rolled out the pieces, put the filling inside and closed them up for her to boil. Then, most of the kids ate them. They were quite a hit. Jed ate 4. If I'd served them at home, he'd have turned up his nose, I am sure.

The Hutongs are the old villages and they are quickly being torn down by the government in order to make room for office buildings, shopping and apartments.

After the Hutong tour, we drove to the drum tower. We were told to be on time as the last show starts at 11:30 and we needed to be there. We arrived at 11:00 so we had a half hour to walk around the drums and see the view which was not great due to the terrible pollution. The steps up to the top were very steep and numerous.

At exactly 11:30, costumed men and women started the show, without announcing the start. At 11:33, the show was over. The children sat, waiting for more, but it soon became clear that nothing would come, so we headed down the steps and took the bus to lunch.

Monday, October 22, 2007

More Australia and Singapore Pictures

Here is a link to the album with Tom's photos.

I do not miss taxis

On Friday, Tom needed the car to go to work and pick up his parents from the airport. So, I took a taxi to take Huck to school. Here's how it went...

I got in the car and asked the driver if he knew where the compound is. He just grunted and repeated the name of the compound so I told him I would tell him how to go. He rolled down the window and yelled something to the guard at the clubhouse and then sped off and out the gate. He took corners sharply, honked his horn nearly constantly, and didn't slow down for the many speed bumps. He was huffing and puffing and grunting. When it was a bit more quiet, I told him I had to drop off my son at school and if he could wait, then I wanted to return home. He said ok.

I assume he was in a huff because he would have preferred a fair downtown, but, whatever the reason, I could have done without his erratic driving and grouchy attitude. There's actually a formal movement to make taxi drivers be more polite, speak a bit of English and not spit. All in preparation for the Olympics. When Tom recently had a similar experience in another city, he told the driver that his government would be disappointed in his efforts, scaring the guy into apologizing.

I do not miss the days of having to take Huck too and from school in taxis every day.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Our trip...

I am sorry about the long absence of new posts...

On September 30th, we departed Beijing for a 2 week holiday. The boys had a week long vacation from school for the October holiday celebrating the founding of the People's Republic of China. We took them out of school for one extra week (plus 2 days) and went to Singapore and Australia.

What a great trip we had!

It was definitely a kid centered trip. We probably visited every animal exhibit in Singapore, Sydney and Port Douglas. The kids loved it.

Here is a link to our photos...