Saturday: from the old to the new

Saturday morning began with a trip to the Temple of Health in downtown Beijing. Another sprawling complex of parks, buildings, and plazas. Thousands of Beijing citizens were out doing exercises, dancing, and walking early in the morning. Scattered around the area were impromptu performers playing Chinese musical instruments and singing.

Followng a traditional Chinese lunch, we headed to the opposite end of Beijing for a visit to the site of the 2008 Olympic games. The first stop was the WATER CUBE, the site of the aquatic events. Sitting in the seats overlooking the pool brought back memories of watching the games on TV thousands of miles away! The modernistic BIRD”S NEST was the next site that we vistied. This is the stadium where track & fields events were held. The size of both venues was enormous as was the entire area of open plazas.

The last stop of the day was at a pearl showroom where we were first shown pearl gathering techniques as well as how to differentiate real from fake pearls. Of course, the inevitable shopping opportunity appeared as we were escorted upstairs to the sales floor. However, this time we were both exhausted and experiencing dwindling funds after two weeks in China. Not to mention that pearls ain’t cheap. Only a few small sales were made.

For dinner, many of us had been wanting to try traditional Chinese noodles. Our tour guide directed us to a nearby noodle restaurant where we enjoyed a bittersweet last dinner in China. Each of us was served a gigantic bowl of noodles, meat, vegetables, and broth–enough to fill us up completely.

The Bird's Nest at the 2008 Olympic site

The Bird's Nest at the 2008 Olympic site

Temple of Health in Beijing

Temple of Health in Beijing

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