Our First Adventure

>> Sunday, May 21, 2006

Wow. It's all I can say for our first real experience here in China. There are so many small things to mention about the culture and people, but I will mention those things as time goes on. I want to talk about our awesome weekend.
Because we don't move into our apartment until tomorrow (Monday) morning, we had all Saturday and Sunday to entertain ourselves. After looking at maps and trying to figure out this crazy city, we decided to venture out and try public transport. After a lot of hand motions and charades, we got the front desk to write our destination in Chinese characters for the taxi driver. Public transport (taxi, subway, bus) is super cheap here and we will gladly use it after seeing how people drive here. I wouldn't last for two seconds! Seriously, driving is a total free-for-all here. I'm not kidding when I say pedestrians better stay out of the way, because vehicles don't slow down for anyone. I am amazed that the population of China isn't decreased by the thousands every year by car/bicycle/pedestrian accidents. But, it seems they have it down to a fine art. We get in a cab and have to wince every 10 seconds as we come within inches of another vehicle or bicycle. Anyway, you have to see it to believe it!
So, our first stop was the Capital Museum in Beijing. It was a huge, beautiful building with more than we could look at in a day. Fortunately, there were English titles and descriptions on everything. There was a temporary Brittish exhibit with treasures from around the world. Now, we all know the Greek statues tend to be scantily clad, so as we walked into the room and Barrett saw a bare bum, he yelled at the top of lungs, "Ha ha, I see his bum, I want to see if he has a wee-wee!" Seriously, it was the first time since we have been in this country that we were grateful no one could understand us.
After the museum, the fun really started. We took the subway (yep, we're mastering public transport) a couple of miles to Tian'anmen Square. It is just outside of the Forbidden City (which we didn't have time to see yesterday) and there were tons of people there. Ok, so up to this point, we were getting used to being stared, smiled and waved at wherever we went. But, this is the point where we became famous (hee, hee, my five seconds of fame). People would stop dead in their tracks to stare, they would follow us, and would stop us to get pictures taken with them. I seriously laughed out loud when I would turn around to see someone taking a sneaky picture of us or see someone jump behind us really fast as someone else would take their picture of them behind us. The best part was when we would stop to rest or sit down. People would inevitably come over for a picture. A big crowd of people would then circle around and watch , smile, and try to talk to us in which we obviously didn't understand. Of course, Kaleb and Barrett were the main attraction. People want to touch their hair, take pictures of them, and watch them. At one point, a big crowd gathered around and laughed and smiled at Barrett's every move while eating an ice cream cone...they loved it! Although we had been used to the stares up to this point, we wondered why the extra attention at this place. We figured that since it is a big tourist attraction, there were many Asian people from other smaller places coming to visit. They acted like they had never seen a fair headed child before, and Travis thought that maybe many of them never have seen one in real life. We had a blast and can't wait to see the many other cool things to see here.
Ok, this entry is turning into a novel. I just can't describe everything we have experienced in the short time we have been here! Really quick, I just wanted to mention that we went to church for the first time today. Church is held on the fourth floor of a huge building (weird, huh?). The people are totally amazing and are so excited we are here. We were kind of overwhelmed because there were so many people there today (there was a large tour group on their way to Taiwan for the 50th annivesary of the first missionaries in Taiwan). We have already had two dinner invites and one of the girls is taking us shopping this week...yeah!
Ok, well, lots of reading, but it's our way to keep everyone updated and our way to record our adventures. We probably won't be able to write for a few days because we are moving into our apartment tomorrow and won't have internet for a while. Until then...
Inside the Capital Museum...oops, we got in trouble for using flash photography
View of main entrance of Capital Museum...upper floor looking down (obviously)
Kaleb and Barrett at the entrance to the Forbidden City
Travis took this picture of one of the many times people asked to get their picture taken with Kaleb and Barrett.
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Greetings from Beijing

>> Thursday, May 18, 2006

Greetings from Beijing, China! We wanted to start this blog so that we could keep family and friends updated on our crazy life half way across the world. We would love it if you would post comments on our blog or email us. We are so excited about our new adventure, but want to hear from everyone back home.

Right now, it is 9 am on Friday Morning, which is 7 pm on Thursday evening back home (and Kaleb is thoroughly enjoying a crazy Chinese pirate movie). Needless to say, our bodies are a bit messed up from the time change! Our trip over here was long, but fortunately uneventful. We flew to Los Angeles, had a short layover there, and then continued on for our never ending 14 hour flight to Hong Kong. It actually wasn't too bad...since we left L.A. at 1 in the morning, and flew all through the night, Kaleb and Barrett fell asleep instantly and slept all through the night.

After arriving in Hong Kong, we were so lucky as to have a 10 HOUR layover before going on to Beijing. I thought it would be torture, but little did I know, the Hong Kong airport was like a huge mall! So, it wasn't too bad...we entertained ourselves with card games, kid's playlands, tv areas, stories, and of course, Chinese cuisine (Burger King). Ok, so we felt a bit foolish eating our first Chinese meal at Burger King, but it was the cheapest. I'm sure we'll have plenty of opportunity to eat dog, squid, eel, and whatever else is eaten here.

Our last flight to Beijing from Hong Kong was 2 1/2 hours. When we arrived in Beijing, the people from Abroad China (internship program) picked us up with two cars because we had so much luggage (poor people probably aren't used to whole families coming over). But anyway, they were wonderful with putting us up in our hotel and giving us tips and a backpack full of necessary items (treats, maps, cell phone, and of course, toilet paper....apparently we have to take our own t.p. with us everywhere we go). Today, they are taking us to check out apartments.

So, stay tuned for further updates. Our trip has been pretty uneventful so far, but I'm sure we'll have some good stories for you! Here are some pictures from our first day in China (Hong Kong airport. Until next time, Zai Jian (since Paul is the only one who will understand that, it means good bye).

Kaleb and me passing the time playing cards at the airport

Kaleb and Barrett on the playland in the airport

When we arrived, it was only 8 pm here, but the boys were still on Utah/Arizona time, and were so tired. This is Kaleb in the hotel lounge.

I just took this looking out of our hotel window. This is our first view of Beijing at five a.m.!

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