25.02.2011 - 25.02.2011 25 °F
Our second tour guide, Suzi Qi, we met at the forbidden city and really liked so we asked her to take us to other locations today and show us around the city. We met in the hotel lobby at 9, grabbed a quick bite at Mc D’s ( we haven’t eaten there since New Zealand, so no fast food comments), and struggled for 10 minutes to get syrup, please see Rileys blog entry. After that we were off to the Beijing zoo to see the Pandas, super cute and something the Chinese are very proud of. Then to the Summer palace, gorgeous views and amazing architecture and history (the Dragon Lady, ruler by proxy from late 1800’s to early 1900’s was one mean lady). Then off to the Olympic village (really cool to see in person). A quick stop at the largest tea house in Beijing, Dr. Tea’s. And finally to the old Beijing area for a rickshaw ride and tour of a locals home.
We went into a traditional Chinese home, 4 walls of rooms surrounding the central garden or courtyard. It was great to see “real people” in their natural environment, the first since we left Bali. The owner of the house, an attractive 60ish woman spoke no English and was fascinated by the girls, she smiled and stared the entire time. She kept telling the translator to tell them how pretty they were, she rubbed Rileys hair and at the end tapped her on the butt. Riley was a little shocked, but we found out later that is not uncommon for an adult woman that things a younger child is “cute” to show affection. Morgan has also had her share of stares and our guide thinks she looks like Britney Spears (all I need to hear from across the pond).
It has been interesting to see the reaction many of the locals have had towards the girls, they are not afraid to stare and check you out from head to toe. We have caught many a passer by’s trying to secretly take a photo of the girls and have had at least 10 people ask to take their photos with the girls (I take pictures of them, taking pictures of the girls, its comically really). It has to make the girls feel special, it’s not because of their beauty, but because of their uniqueness, that is so compelling here. It is always good to feel like you have some individuality and something that makes you different, they have certainly seen that here. I seem to just get looks of fear, and I am fairly certainly they see me as someone they think might try to eat them. My size, height and frame (oh yeah, and my weight), is not the average here at all!!
I think in a land of 1.3 billion people, individuality and feeling unique is probably one of the hardest emotions to fulfill. It is a populated place and standing out would be a challenge.
Maybe that is what made it such a great day, the reality of our uniqueness as individuals, and the ability to express that difference so freely where we live. It was a great day!