Wake Up! We’re in Beijing!

“Rejoice & be filled with delight you boundless realms which I create…” {Isaiah 65:18}

Wake-up Beijing music blasted over street loud-speakers outside our hotel at 8 a.m.  Dutifully off we went each day to explore the city…Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City rich with great halls, pavilions & palaces that played home to 7 Emperors, Wangfujing Market, Olympic Square, the Great Hall of the People {akin to our Congress}, National Museum of China, the Monument to the People’s Heroes, Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, the Gate Tower over Zhengyangmen …beautiful gardens, lively & colorful restaurants, bustling underground tunnels, the retiring of the Red Flag at sunset.

I’ll let photographs speak for themselves this time.

(Note to anyone traveling in a land where you don’t speak the language: Take a business card of your hotel to give to cab drivers when you’re ready to return. This beats leaving a trail of bread crumbs.)

(Click on images to enlarge.)

Shanghai’d

After enduring 15+ hours on a plane I desperately wanted a shower & a good night’s sleep. What day is it anyway? The limo driver who picked us up at the airport had a death wish. No really, I’m certain of it. He weaved in & out of other cars, accelerating with petal to the metal urgency, then slammed on brakes, honking & gesturing…and that was BEFORE we even left the airport parking garage!! I immediately came to the conclusion that barf bags are wasted on airlines; they belong in the back seat of cars in Shanghai.  Our wild ride to the hotel in the Bund held me spellbound, half trying not to throw up, half attempting to take in all the sites.  Unbroken rows of apartment high rises sky-scraped clouds, more than hinting at millions of residents in this city. Unmistakable pollution…thick, gray low overcasts…permeated the entire city.

We survived the ride to the hotel but don’t ask me how. Never in my life have I seen cars change lanes in such proximity to one another w/o scraping the paint job. If not for the terror, I might have been impressed.

Telling ourselves it was too early for bed, Zech and I strolled along the riverfront across from Pearl Tower and into the Bund–a magnificent architectural area displaying buildings of Greek revival, art deco, and several other styles unfamiliar to my bloodshot eyes. We were both aghast at the peskiness of the merchants who followed us with no comprehension of the term “personal space”, grabbing at our clothes and shouting at us to come & buy…everything from trinkets to toys to rice jewelry to fried octopus. One very resourceful man who knew English followed Zech shouting “EDDIE, EDDIE come lookie”. Puzzled at first, we enjoyed a good chuckle when Zech figured out that the man was reading the logo on his Eddie Bauer backpack. Nearly every other person wanted their photo taken with Zech. It frightened him at first…there’s just something about having strangers paw at you that sets you on edge. But as Zech began to understand how excited people were to see someone so different looking from themselves, he eased into the attention.

Shanghai’s beauty did not disappoint. I’m sharing photos of some of the sites we took in at Jade Buddha Temple, Shanghai Theatre, Shanghai Museum, People’s Square, & Yu Garden. And stunning views from our hotel of Shanghai skyline and riverfront.