Monday, August 25, 2008

Day 5 - August 23

This morning we loaded up for a trip to the Beijing Zoo. If you've known me for a while, you know how much I like pandas. This was one of the most exciting things for me to see.
Here Kinley is in front of the glass where the baby pandas were. After the earthquake in China, 6 babies got sent to Beijing while their home gets rebuilt.

This panda was curled up by the door outside, and while we were watching her, she woke up and started walking toward us. She ended up finding some bamboo and sitting down for a snack.

The funny thing about this giraffe is that the people are in the cage, not the giraffe! There was a little hedge with a cattle guard thing around it, but no fence. The people had to pay a little to get some leafy food for the giraffe and go in the cage to feed it.

Kinley picked out a panda of her own and go to push him around. She has been calling him Kung Fu Panda.

A few of our group got to take a picture with a monkey sitting on thier laps. He was pretty cute with a little shirt and diaper. The rest of the zoo wasn't that great. The zoo itself was nice. Lots of trees and even a pond with fish and swans, but so many of the animals were in tiny little cages, especially the big cats. Their little area was the worst. It smelled awful and it was like they were in cells - very small, bars, no toys, and only cement floor and walls. The lucky animals that got to be outside had it much better. For me, and most of us, the pandas were the highlight!
Next we went to a Chinese restraunt for lunch. Again Dino ordered us some great food and then we were off to the market to see what kind of deals we could make. This market was indoor. It was full of cheap knock-offs, but it was fun. Christy and I both got coach purses for about $16! Everyone found something to buy, and most of us didn't pay more than $30 for anything. It was really pretty fun bargaining and walking away from the sellers.
Kinley passed out after I was done shopping so we went down the street to KFC for a drink and some chicken nuggets, for later. We got back to the hotel and had a little over an hour to get ready for the evening.
First, we went to a Peking Duck Dinner. This was pretty good. We had some other dishes first, and then a chef came out and carved the meat right off the duck. A lady came to each of our tables to show us how to properly eat and then we dug in. Its a lot like mu-shu pork/chicken with little wrappers and a few veggies.

This is the lady showing the other table how to make the duck wrap.

Kinely ate her chicken and then found this little spot to rest.

Next, we went to the Beijing Opera. This is not the opera you might be thinking of. It had singing, dancing, martial arts, and tumbling. When we first got to the hotel where it was, you could walk by the actors putting on their own make-up. Pretty cool! We were seated front and center at two tables. A man came to pour hot water into our tea cups. He was awesome!

The first performance was about a king and his wife. The king's troops were getting beat up and they needed to move, but he was worried about his wife. So, long story short, she killed herself so he wouldn't worry about her. The second one was more entertaining. It was about a nymph marrying a scholar. The gods didn't approve, so there was a loooooong battle. This battle had lots of tumbling and cool martial arts, but it was about 15 minutes too long. Anyway, the scholar came back with an enchanted pearl to save the nymph from the battle.
Here is a picture from the second one. The guys on the far left and right were clairvoiant and clairaudiant and the gold guy was the head god. Everyone in this picture faught against the nymph, sometimes 5 at a time.

After the opera, we went back to the hotel to drop our stuff off and go to Club Bud. We had and in, so everyone except me, Christy, Kinley and Tom and Nick went to have some fun. We had a great time but were definately ready to go home!

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