The past couple of days have been filled with numerous sightseeing trips to all kinds of places that are famous to Beijing. Our tour guide Mr. Lee is very cool and he seems to know all the secret places to go. The first day of sightseeing included trips to the Olympic stadium and the Confucian Temple. The Olympic stadium was really big and it was so cool to think of all the events that had taken place there. We also went into the Water Cube where Michael Phelps took home eight gold medals. It was weird to think about all the athletes that performed there only a year ago and yet I could remember where and how they won their events, especially in the Water Cube and remembering how Michael Phelps won those races. Soooooo cool!!! The next day we went to the Forbidden City and Tienamen Square. The Forbidden City was packed with so many people that were pushing and shoving, trying to see one throne or table. It was like that would be the last throne they would see in their life and they all made sure they could get a good picture of it. Tienamen Square was not as packed but very cool to see considering the recent history of that area.
Today, we went to a non-tourist part of the Great Wall of China. Our tour guide has some connections and we were the only ones on the Wall at this location and it was not refinished or developed. Out team was walking on bricks that were at least 700 years old!!! We took tons of pictures and I took some brick with me, so if you guys want to touch 700 year old brick, I’ll have it back in the States. Then we got back to the city and had Beijing (Peking) duck which is a delicacy here and is quite tasty. Lauren Kosasa on our trip is a vegetarian and was somewhat disturbed by the duck’s head on our table. I probably didn’t help her uneasiness about the head when I took a bite of the head and neck (it’s really good, I swear). After dinner, Kyle and myself went to a massage parlor to get foot massages and boy where they incredible. The only sketchy part was when they put hot glass cups on our feet. I was just sitting there with my eyes closed, enjoying the massage, when all of a sudden hot glass is attached to my foot and it felt as if the cup was sucking my foot into itself. I was in shock but once the cup was removed, my feet felt soo relaxed, especially after hiking the Great Wall of China.
Before I end this blog entry (or email entry I guess) I wanted to touch on the conditions in Beijing. There are a ton of unsanitary practices in the area that we are at, like kids peeing and pooping in the streets or dogs doing the same thing. What I’ve been struggling with the most is the poverty and beggars on the street. I think I’ve always struggled with beggars because I don’t know if I should give them money or not and whether or not I should do something else. I feel like John Perkins put it best when he said if you give money to the poor, it will just end up in the hands of the rich again. Now, I do feel like we should be helping the poor but in what ways besides just giving them money? That’s what the beggars in China have stirred up in my head.