New Zealand to Japan
February through April 2007
 

Page 31 - Beijing, China (Part I)
 

Our visit of this wonderful city was hampered by the cold weather, later followed by rain and even a hale storm. Nevertheless, we enjoyed our stay very much and can now proclaim that we have now seen some of the most famous tourist sites of the world.

Our cruise ship was in port two full days; however, the port was 2 1/2 hour drive from the city so we had made arrangements to stay overnight in Beijing. Our guides for the first day fixed us up with transportation to and from the ship as well as a trip to the Great Wall.

The port of Xiam -- sort of sad-looking due to the weather conditions. Our guides drove us to Beijing
 
We stopped for a break at a highway service area. Shows the "rings" of Beijing (more on this topic below) We had arranged for our guides to stop at a department store so that Lynda could buy some silk fabric.
 
The city of Beijing is divided into five rings called "circles". The inner one, circle 1, is the city center and also considered the old Beijing. Our hotel was in circle 1 -- but now I'm getting ahead of myself. The shopping center for getting silk fabrics (and lunch) was in circle 4. Circle 5 is the still mostly undeveloped future suburbs of Beijing. As can be seen on the map, a freeway system similar to the Beltway around Washington DC surrounds the city; except that there are five "beltways".
A peddler near the shops I felt compelled to take these two photos in the while the girls were in the shopping center. During our drive to Beijing I noticed that a large number of the cars on the highway were GM cars, most of them Buicks. Here are two of them I found on the parking lot (there were more but I thought two photos would be enough to make my point.
 
As we approached the Great Wall, our driver pulled off the pavement just long enough for us to snap a couple of shots out of the car window. It would have been a really beautiful sight had the sun been shining. Advertising the upcoming olympics
 
There was a mechanized way to get to the upper sections also Lynda bough a souvenier from the Great Wall of China What???  A Starbucks at the Great Wall!!!!  Well, let's go inside and have some coffee!
 
And so ended our tour of the Great Wall of China. After our Starbucks break, we got back into the car and our tour guide drove us back to Beijing where we had reservations to spend the night in Zone 1.

The hotel had its own restaurant so we were able to have dinner without having to go look for a place to eat.

Our hotel centrum Our room was near the left edge of photo Start of our dinner hour
Hey, we're getting pretty good at eating with chopsticks! Bird cage outside the restaurant Guess what these are? Hint: found in our bathroom

Bed time. Tomorrow the Forbidden City