Today was only a half day tour, but we sure crammed a lot in. First stop was Beijing’s only zoo where we went straight to the pandas. For some reason, seeing them eating bamboo in China made it seem more authentic.
Next we stopped at the famed “bird’s nest” olympic stadium and wandered around the village. Street vendors were out in full force here, but it didn’t get really crazy till we were back in the narrow street of town where tour groups each took their turns on the rickshaws. These vendors are relentless when it comes to selling their wares, something tells me it’s only the beginning though. This is training for the bazaars and markets of India and Egypt.
We also stopped at the Lama temple where worshippers lite incense and prayed to either their Tibetan or buddhist statues. There were multiple temples housing different statues depending on what your religion is. They all had one thing in common, the brightly colored and ornately decorated interior and exterior of the temples made me feel blessed just being there.
Back in the village we were treated to a home cooked lunch by a local family. I’m not quite sure exactly what I ate, but I know there was spicy chicken, vegetables and rice involved. My itinerary said we were supposed to make dumplings with the family, so I was really disappointed when we didn’t. However, lunch was delicious, so as long as we get to eat I’m happy.
After seeing the hutong villages via rickshaw, our guide took us around by foot and told us about the different fancy gates in front of people’s houses that symbolize wealth. They definitely stick out next to the more homely looking residences.
Another thing that stood out was the group of birds that were leashed to their perch. Since I saw a couple of cages at the house we stopped at, I’m only assuming that these birds may be for sale. I’ve just never seen them chained down before, but that’s what seeing the world and all its cultures is all about.