Temple of Heaven, Hutong village & more

**This post was actually written while we were still in China, but on the last day I had problems with internet access for the first time on the trip. I saved it hoping that I'd get to post from the airport, but we were in too much of a rush (a VERY kind woman managed to score us bulkhead seats for the flight back from Beijing, but it took a while at check-in).**

Our last full day in Beijing (Nov. 6) was a full one! After breakfast we took a taxi to the Temple of Heaven which was used by the emperor just ONCE a year to offer sacrifices for a good harvest and weather for the next planting season. Again it was interesting to me to see that the ancient Chinese had aspects of their culture very much like the ancient Mayan people. I guess across the world people were (and are still) more similar than it first appears. The park surrounding the temple itself is spacious and very peaceful and we spent several hours soaking in the sunshine, breathing fresh air, and watching everyday life of Beijing all around us.

Tree lined walkway from the north gate to the temple.
At the main temple.
Amazing detail work!

The major disadvantage of going somewhere without a guide is that you miss a lot of the history. I know one of the places we stopped was the Heavenly Center Stone and the sign there was interesting, but I'm not sure exactly what it was used for. Note the last line ~ Caleb seemed to be resonant enough without standing on the center stone...

One of my "prouder moments" as a mother of two. At the Heavenly Center Stone circle, my children were running around and making REALLY LOUD sounds that resembled seagulls. It was attracting quite a bit of attention, but at least we were outside, right? (Yes, I have it on video too, but there isn't enough time to get it loaded right now ~ we head to the airport in about 30 minutes).

Caleb was determined to figure out the shuttlecock ~ and he finally gave it a good kick!

Just in case you thought any of these things were a good idea inside the park...

After hitting the pearl market (thanks Grant for a beautiful strand of pearls ~ I'll call them my Caleb pearls!) we headed to KFC for a quick lunch so that we would still have time for the Hutong village. Caleb likes corn, but wasn't too sure about how to bite it off the cob. We both ended up wearing a lot of it!

Kylie making a wish in the goldfish bowl inside one of the hutong house courtyards. The hutong is a walled "village" of tiny courtyard homes. This is the type of housing that used to be common in Beijing. Sadly these homes are disappearing and being replaced by highrises. I have a bunch more pictures of them, but time is running out so I'll have to post them later.

We stopped back by the silk market to pick up Grant's tailor made suit and to haggle a good deal on a new waterproof/windproof jacket for me. I also snagged a gift for the kids' Uncle Alexander and by this time the children were exhausted from a long day of walking with no nap. Let's just say that quite a few people would remember our graceful exit from the market. When we finally got back to the room, Caleb was melting down and just wanted to take a bath, so Ian, Grant and Kylie went downstairs for dinner and Caleb splashed in the tub the entire time they were gone. He had just started talking to me when Ian and Kylie got back. I so would love to know what he was saying! Then it was pajama and bed time for the kids and packing time for me (somewhat of a challenge due to all the silk outfits I bought for the kids and all our other souvies...). Let me tell you about the size of the dirty laundry bag...


Nancy said...

Sounds like a busy last day! You'll have to take a photo of some of the stuff you bought. I'd love to see the silks!

Anonymous said...

I love the photo of them looking through the wall, or whatever that is.
Aunt Cici

Anonymous said...

I love the photo of them looking through the wall, or whatever that is.
Aunt Cici