Friday, April 11, 2014

Okay, so yesterday, I mentioned we went to Beijing. If you follow me on Instagram (it's where all my online fun happens since the Great Firewall doesn't block it- pop over and say hi so I can see all your goodies, too!), you got to see some of the adventure as we went. Check out Rob's feed, too- request to follow, he's expecting you guys.

So, Monday was part of the Qingming (Tomb-sweeping) Festival. And since we have no ancestors over here, we thought we'd utilize the long weekend to get away and spend a little time exploring more of China sans-diapers before this little one arrives. I got to spend a few weeks in Beijing when my sister lived there a few summers ago, but Rob's time was restricted to a short day during the December Recruitment Tour. And, despite being 34 weeks pregnant, I was determined to pack in as much as we could. Oh. My. Gosh. So worth the angry feet at the end of each day. We hit most of the tourist highlights.

Baby McClure visits the Forbidden City and gets side-eyed or flat-out stared at by thousands of Chinese people.

Day 1- Saturday. Up early to catch the fast train from Suzhou to Beijing. 5 hours later, we arrive and hop on the subway to our hotel, which was 1/2 a block away from my sister's old apartment, so I knew the area well. We had Mexican for dinner (Beijing is more internationally established and momma's been craving pico and guac), milled around the neighborhood instead, did some Saturday night people watching, and headed to bed early.

Day 2- Sunday. Temple of Heaven, amazing people watching and enjoying Beijing park culture, along with eating a popsicle we bought for 2 rmb ($.32). Met up for Peking Duck lunch with a long-time family friend who helped out with my little brother's adoption 15 years ago and then went back to Holt International Adoption's Beijing offices to play with babies who are preparing for or recovering from surgeries before going back to their home provinces to await matching. A little cleft palate girl (still teeny tiny at 13 months) was nearly snuck out under my jacket. We headed off to an overpriced, but totally awesome Acrobatics show (tourist trap, but way fun anyway) and ended the evening with roadside cart tiny oranges, which we ate in bed back at the hotel.

Day 3- Monday. Long subway ride out to the Summer Palace and a comically strenuous hike up 108 meters of steps to the top of Longevity Hill. We also wandered along the Long Corridor (one of my favorites- the inside ceilings are painted with unique scenes of birds and flowers and legendary heroes) while I walked in front and Rob enjoyed the "holy $)*^, a really pregnant white girl!" stares I kept getting. We popped down to Panjiayuan Market for some antique/fake junk shopping (way more great stuff a few years ago) and walked away with only a thank you vase for our friend who was watching the cat. We were reeeeally hoping for a junky and awesome gong or huge singing bowl. No luck. Great Thai food for dinner, and a beer for Rob at Great Leap Brewery, right near our hotel (and great sadness for me, the beer lover).

Day 4- Tuesday. It was the evening of my dad's birthday over in the States, so my whole family hopped on Google Hangouts together (Ohio, North Carolina, Arizona, and Suzhou) to catch up and love on him a little. We checked out Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, eating popsicles every chance we got. "Hey, Kate, do you want a popsicle?" Fake exasperation- "Rob, you already know the answer to that dumb question... Yes." We popped over to the train station and got back into town not too late, but happy and exhausted.

I know Babymoons are supposed to be relaxing and all about reconnecting and spoiling yourself and your loved one before a kiddo arrives, and most couples go to a beach of some sort, but we've never been a couple that "does" convention. A 10-15 km each day walking tour of a seriously enormous city? Oh, for sure, count us in. It was so much fun and we're excited about our next big-China-city-visit, maybe sometime at the end of my mom's post-partum visit this summer.


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