Mom and I in front of the Temple of Heaven
We started our last day in Beijing with a trip to The Temple of Heaven, which turned out to be anything BUT heavenly for one of our group members (he was pickpocketed looking at the temple). This led to my mom panicking…but luckily our awesome guide handled the situation (the wallet was gone, and the person who took it already tried to spend over 3,000$ on it!) The Temple of Heaven was pretty, but I was pretty much over temples by this day…and it was HOT.
one morning exercise was to practice Chinese calligraphy…he used water and that brush! so cool to watch!
I really enjoyed the park in front of the Temple. Local residents can buy a pass to this park, and they come DAILY to do morning exercises. Most of the residents were older, because they are retired. It was so fascinating to see the different morning exercises they do each day.
more morning exercises
After the Temple of Heaven we headed to the Beijing Zoo to see the PANDAS! I was a little bummed that this trip didn’t include a trip to the Panda sanctuary in Chengdu, so the Beijing Zoo would have to do. Honestly, if you make a trip to Beijing I would skip this…it was seriously depressing. The zoo has four pandas on display and 3 out of the four are kept in tiny exhibits with practically no habitat. Just a dark and dreary cage. The one lucky Panda is living the life in the exhibit that was created for the 2008 Beijing Olympics…we called it the Panda resort. Not sure why all four pandas can’t be happy in there.
In the afternoon we experienced our first of four inter china flights. The best part about the tour we picked is that the guide flies with you. He helped get us all through security and to our plane. The thing with air travel in China is time is not of the essence. Our guide warned us that it was very common for flights to be delayed, or for you to board the plane and just sit for hours (we would learn this later in the trip). We were told we were VERY lucky to only be delayed an hour, and then to only sit on the plane for 45 minutes. I got lucky and had the middle seat open, and a nice Chinese kid sitting next to me. He was a talker…found out practically his whole life story (which to be fair was interesting). He was returning home to Xi’an from Canada where he had been attending high school. He hoped to be returning for college in August.
So we survived our first flight within China and made it to the hotel in Xi’an, where true to our nature mom and I ate dinner in the hotel…PIZZA and BEER! I was very happy! 🙂