Sunday, July 18, 2010

4th Day in Beijing - 9 June 2008

**This is a never-before-published journal entry from June 2008.

Hi mom! I'm exhausted already- we've done so much! Yesterday I went on a rickshaw ride and visited an older man and his wife in their home in Hu Tong, the old downtown.  He is a painter and I got a beautiful rice paper painting that I will frame and give to Vaughn and Whitney for a wedding present.  

Lara, my Icelandic friend, and I sharing a rickshaw

This painting is now framed above my good friends' fireplace. I love seeing it when I visit!

The painter's kitchen

We visited a tea house where I got some great jasmine tea, the traditional tea that's drunk in Beijing, and a tea cup that changes colours when you put hot water in it.  

Courtyard at the traditional tea house

The day before I stocked up on souvenir gifts for family at the silk factory, where they unwind the silk worms' cocoon and smash the pubras (little worms) into face cream and stuff.  A little too natural for me.

special machines help unwind the truly homespun thread of a silk worm's cocoon 

another method is to stretch out the fibers of the cocoon to be used for filling in silk comforters

this stuff can reallllllly stretch!!  It takes hundreds of silk cocoons to fill one comforter.

the factory's show room was magnificent.  every single item was pure silk!

we were even treated to a private fashion show in the adjoining press room.

Last night I had a huge meal w/ drinks for $1.50 USD.  

All 11 of us ate and had several drinks for about USD $25 in this little restaurant in one of Beijing's backstreets.  It only took 45 minutes to find an interpreter and order. We never did figure out the menu.

We went to a Kung Fu show and it was the most amazing thing I've ever seen!  We weren't allowed to take pictures but I snuck a few w/o flash.  

We have tons of free time and I've made really good friends with a group of students from Iceland.  I'm learning lots of Icelandic- I think that'll be my next exchange destination.  We're now on our way to Tien'anmen square and the Forbidden City (where the emperor lived).  This afternoon we'll be at the Great Wall!  I've already filled up one memory card w/ photos.


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