Saturday, February 7, 2009

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

Downtown Beijing

Summer Palace
The long corridor that is hand painted

The roof of the corridor
private temple for empress

The lake is man-made, its over 500 years old! Its at Summer Palace

Made out of marble- its not a boat, but a dock used by the empress (Dragon-lady)

This boat was used by the emperor to carry her all over the lake while she drank her tea..

Oh, this place never looked so good...

Inside the Bird's Nest

Bird's Nest, Beijing Olympics 2008
Water Cube

Each day is getting better and better!! Today, I woke up at 5:30am!!! I am going to bed about the same time each night….around 10:00pm. So, anything more than 6 hours is just icing on the cake!!! We met Helen this morning at 10:00am in the lobby. First, we went to Summer Palace. This is the place where the emperor stayed in the summer. It is so beautiful. The lake is ginormous and it is man-made! They dug this lake by hand (or tool). It was made in the 1400’s. Amazing huh? They took all the dirt and made a mountain out of it. It also has the longest corridor in the world. The ceilings are hand-painted. It really is almost too much to take in. The Chinese people are an incredibly smart group of people. It’s no wonder their civilization has survived for so many years. Each day, I am more and more amazed.

Have I told you we feel like movie stars here? Everyone (especially children) loves to take pictures with us and practice using their English. People here are so friendly. Sooooo friendly!!! For some reason, I thought I was going to be scared over here. Wrong!! I feel safer in Beijing than I do walking in the parking lot at the Oxford mall. The crime rate is extremely low. People (in general) do not break the law in this country. The only thing that makes me nervous is the language barrier. Sometimes, it can be hard to communicate if Helen is not with us (which is not often). Chinese is not like Spanish where you can “figure out” some words. Uh… nope, not going to “figure out” any Chinese words even if your life depended on it. I just wanted to tell everyone how safe it is here. I think Americans have a wrong view of this country.

So..after Summer Palace, we stopped at McDonald's. I know, I know, “When in China, do as the Chinese!” Well, if you could see how many people in China eat at McDonald's you would understand that I AM doing like the Chinese. Seriously…oh, alright, I’ll be honest. I woke up thinking about an extra large double cheeseburger with and extra large order of salty fries with an extra large Coke! I am not being dramatic when I tell you that tears came into my eyes when I bit into that cheeseburger. My taste buds went wild!! They kept saying, “more, more, feed me, feed me!” Helen even told me to slow down. I was stuffing those fries in my mouth about 6 at a time. I don’t think I really chewed up my food. After about 5 minutes, Carlton asked me where my cheeseburger was, I said, “it’s gone.”. He couldn't’t believe it. He has only eaten half of his sandwich! The funny thing is…I don’t really even eat McDonald's back at home. Ya’ll know I went looney after I watched that show about that man who ate McDonald's and almost died. But, when you go 5 days eating healthy tofu, your body goes a little nuts. I am happy to report that I feel like a new woman after my extra-large combo meal.

After our yummy meal, we went to the Olympic Center. Once again, I started saying to myself, “Are we really here?” I just watched this on TV not too long ago and now here I am half-way across the world standing inside the building which held the opening ceremonies??? We walked all around the center and took lots of pictures. We also saw the water cube where Michael Phelps rocked the house! We planned on going to the Nationality Park, but Mama layla…(Chinese for “Mommy is tired!”). We thought it would be best to come back to the hotel and rest for about an hour and half before we went to the Chinese acrobat show.

The show was really great. Helen got us tickets for a great price. We were in the VIP section. Those were the most flexible people I have ever seen! After the show, we walked around down town. It reminded me sooooo much of New York City. There were lots of flashing lights and people walking in all different directions.

We got back to our room around 8:00pm. We are going to take it easy and get some sleep. Tomorrow, we are going to church in Beijing! We will be attending a Christian church that is just for foreigners. We had intended on going to a Chinese Christian Church, but it is too far to go. We will not have our sweet Helen tomorrow! She wrote down a note to give to the taxi driver and also put her cell phone number on the paper. She wants us to call her when we get out of church to make sure we are OK. Isn’t she the best??? We don’t know what we are going to do tomorrow afternoon. You might think I am strange, but I really want to go to Wal-mart in China. I know…you’d think I would not want to see that place, but I do! Maybe we will go there…who knows where we will end up….Carlton and I love a good adventure.

We will let you know how church goes tomorrow.

Thank you for the comments that you are leaving. Carlton and I love waking up and reading them. It’s such a joy!

Love you all,

Aimee and Carlton


Elizabeth said...

I cannot believe you were at the Water Cube! So cool!! Enjoy church--I can't wait to hear about your experience......and believe me, I can understand how sometimes you just NEED a McDonald's fix!!!!

Jessica said...

Again the pictures are just incredible! I am just amazed at how beautiful everything is...I can only imagine what it must be like in person (wow Aimee you are in China!)
I am laughing so hard about McDonalds...I bet that cheeseburger never tasted so good :)
Can not wait to hear about the experience at church.
Continuing to pray for you guys!!
love u!!

Tamara said...

I love, love, love getting up and reading about your day every morning! It does seem like every day gets better. But...I'm betting the best day of all will be here on Feb. 11th! Just 3 1/2 more days!! I can hardly wait to hear about that day and see the pictures of you and Carlton and Lily together. I'll have to have a whole box of Kleenex ready to see and read about that day. I just know God is going to give you the smoothest transistion ever! That is what I have been praying.

Enjoy church and have a a great day!

Love you guys!

The Ferrill's said...

Aimee, Summer Palace was one of my favorite places we went in Beijing. We spent hours there just relaxing and taking it all in. We talked and talked (through Hannah, our guide) with different Chinese people who were local to the was a great memory making day!
That is SO COOL that you got to go inside the Bird's Nest!
And I was totally cracking up reading your McDonald's experience! I know EXACTLY how you felt!
Once again, you wrote a great update. You will be SO glad when you get back home that you wrote so many details. As time passes our memory tends to forget little things, you know! When we took our trips, I would write down things as the day passed so I wouldn't forget. I would have pieces of napkin, candy wrappers, all sorts of odds and ends that I had written memories on. Then at the end of the day I would take them all and write my updates.
Anyway...I can't wait to hear about the church service tomorrow!
God bless! We are praying for yall!

Nicole said...

It really does look like NYC..Thats hilarious about your McDonalds meal..I have never seen you stuff down a hamburger like must have been starving...when you come back you will be about 10 pounds lighter due to your lack of grease and your buns of steel workout at THE GREAT WALL ha poor sister...I will have to fatten you up...I can bring you some Mi Toro ha..and Mario can write a message on the nachos like last time hahah When Isabella saw the picture of Carlton eating his hamburger she said "LOOK MAMA, CRAWLTON IS EATING THAT HAMBURGER!!" HAHAHAH well maybe I will call Hannah and Noah today...I bet they miss you...Don't get lost on your day out alone together....Gi-gen (goodbye)

Linda said...

Do go to Wal-Mart. A Chinese Wal-Mart is not even comparable to an American Wal-Mart. It's an experience all in itself and lots of fun!

I hope your day alone is enjoyable. We really enjoyed being able to just walk and take in all the sights and sounds and smells.

Crystal said...

I love the McDonald story!! And I definitely think you should go to WalMart just to see what it's like in China!

The pictures are great, as always! I can't wait to read about the church you will be visiting!

It's getting so close!!!!

~Crystal Joplin

Tasha said...

Wow, again I can't believe your on a different time zone and with all the excitment and touring everyday, you so wonderfully describe everything so beautifully to us!! It all is so awesome to see! Lily will be so informed of her homeland because of all your taking in.I'm with Tamara I can't wait to see the first pics of Lily with her mommy and daddy just a few more days! Can't wait for more pics and learning about the church!
Love from home! Tasha

Barb said...

Again how exciting it is to read about your adventures. I look forward to getting on the computer everyday, just to see what you have seen and learned. Wow the Olympic complex -- that must have been cool. I can totally relate to the McDonalds - I dont go very often at home, but when I was in France I welcomed the taste from home, nothing beats McDonald's french fries! The Wal-Marts outside of USA seem to be an experience in their own -- enjoy. Have a great time at church. Looking forward to hearing all about it.

Satterfield Softball 14U said...

Aimee, I am loving reading about your adventures. I just got to the blog this morning, (Sat) and have spent the last hour catching up. Love all the wonderful things you are learning and what a love for your new daughter to take the time to learn so much about her culture so you can teach her. You and Carlton are so precious and we are blessed to have you to bring back all these wonderful adventures you are having. Aimee, you know you are going to have to have a cooking lesson for all of us so we can learn to cook dumplings...what fun! Can't wait until tomorrow, keep up the good work and have fun. We love you....Laura Satterfield.

LeighAnne said...


I can totally relate to the McDonalds experience, I had a similar experience when my family went on vacation to Israel. My mom cried when she saw those Golden Arches! :) The Summer Palace looks incredible. I think that I would really like it there. It looks so peaceful. Can you imagine how decadent of a lifestyle those emperorers must have lived? Amazing. I wish I could have seen that acrobatic show too. Thanks for all the details. They are amazing.

Hugs, LA

PS - I loved the video of Helen. She IS a doll!!!

Amy said...

I always wondered if American food, like McD's, tasted the same in other countries. I guess it did as you scarfed yours down. Love the pictures!!!


Jessica said...

Looks like another wonderful day in China!! I was laughing so hard while reading about McDonalds. Sometimes you just need a good ole cheeseburger. I can't believe you have been to the bird nest and water cube. I too am so fascinated with the olympics. Do they use it for anything now? or is it just a tourist attraction. Look forward to Sunday's update.
Praying for you both!! Kadle

Marita said...

Aimee, I am so happy for you and Carlton! Your pictures are fabulous I love reading your updates. I can totally relate to your McDonalds feast, been there done that. By all means, go to WalMart while you are in China, it is a totally new experience.

Talley Images said...

Im just now getting to comment, but can I say how jealous I am.... or how excited I am for you?!!

I am loving this blog and reading all your adventures and I wish you both the best! Cant wait for that Gotcha Day!

Amy said...

Okay! You're making want to visit China. I'm going to have to add it to my list. Honestly, it is something I never thought about before then the other day Austin and I were discussing learning a foreign language and Mandarin came up. Anyway, it sounds like you're having a fabulous time. Only a few days to go!! Enjoy yourselves!

Kim Wade said...

Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. Reading your blog is like reading a book. All of the details make me feel like I am in China with you. I am looking forward to the next update. I am praying for all of you....


DonnaK said...

I can only imagine how happy you were to see McDonald's!! Something so familiar!! So, I guess it did taste the same there?? I have always wondered that. Anyway, I am having a blast "traveling" with you on this journey!! I even dreamed about it last night!! haha...The first thing I do every morning is run in here to check for an update!! Also, throughout the day when I notice the time I automatically figure out what time it is in China! (the time difference is CRAZY!!) Well, I hope y'all are out having a GREAT day again now and I can't wait to read all about it!! You are only 3 days away now!!!! I can hardly contain myself!!

Prayers and love coming your way!!!
~Donna Kay!

Ashley and Mike said...

I am so happy that you are in China! I cannot wait to read about you meeting your sweet girl. I hate that we are going to miss each other. I have about a zillion packets of Lipton Cup A Soup - want me to hide them for you or leave them at the front desk? They were really a life saver for me when I had trouble finding food. There is a good Italian place here, which is a nice change. Papa Johns delivers to teh White Swan. I am waiting on some right now. The breakfast buffett is great. Lucy's is just ok, but we have eaten there about 4 times. I wish we could see you!!!