Today was a great day for the three of us. Daddy woke feeling much better so we got ourselves up and ready for breakfast while Mei Mei slept in a bit. She's still a little surprised to see my face each time she wakes but is settling into it more easily and even smiled a bit at me when I got her calmed down. And surprise of all surprises, she polished off a 6 oz. bottle of formula! Granted, it was seriously doctored up formula but she drank it and we can correct the bad habit later. Thanks to my reader-friend, Amy, for the tip of adding stuff to the formula. Apparently, I got the recipe right!
After a simple and bland breakfast in the hotel buffet, we did a quick load of hand-washed laundry while we waited for Dion to pick us up. And then we were off!
Our first stop was about an hour away, on the outskirts of Beijing, at a beautiful jade factory and store. We got a personalized tour as we were just about the only ones there during the lunch hour. We learned about the 8 different categories of jade quality, the ranges of colors and translucency of jade, and the traditional meanings associated with jade. Then we got to wander around a huge show room of jewelry, statues, statuettes, more jewelry, showcase furniture, and home decor. The intricacies of the carved pieces were amazing.
This huge boat is ENTIRELY jade.
It was magnificent.
A beautiful table and four chairs of jade.
I'll bet it's too heavy for my dining room floor!
The Boss, Shaggy, Dr. D, and Baby BlueEyes....
forever enshrined in jade!
After that, we hopped back in the van and Dion asked if we'd be interested in visiting the Olympic complex. Interested?! ME? HEH! Uhhh, yeah! We're interested! I spoke for the both of us. (And yes, I know there's no Olympic games going on now. Yes, I know that I got to see the complex in 2008. But this is OLYMPIC stuff guys! And we all know how crazy I am about all things Olympic!)
We got to walk right into the campus, stopping on the way for a little snack from a street car. YUM! It was a tortilla like wrapper filled with shredded veggies and a bit of a kick in flavor. Mei Mei, The Boss and I all shared one - which Mei Mei was NOT a fan of at all. She really does love to eat - pretty much anything we offer. (Don't worry, I'm careful not to overwhelm her system with all the new things and I keep an eye on quantity while we're learning her signals and cues!)
This was our first attempt at using the Ergo
carrier that my friend, Lisa, lent me.
She resisted at first, which I'm getting used to,
and then snuggled in to enjoy the sights from a safe perch.
I'm still pinching myself.... I got to stand at the foot of
The Bird's Nest! Aaaaaaaaaaah!
The Ling Long Pagoda, where
most of the broadcasting studios for the games
were located, including The Today Show.
The Water Cube from across the complex.
This sculpture is called "Olympic Torch Relay."
One side was smooth and intricate, the other very rough and primitive.
It is really amazing and beautiful to see up close and personal.
After the ooohing and aaahhing over the Olympic sites, we hopped back into the van and headed to a little noodle house for a "light lunch." Heh. We're learning that there's no such thing when eating out with Dion. He ordered for us and our driver, plate after plate of local deliciousness. We had stir-fried cabbage, noodles with a sweet Peking sauce and veggies, sauteed eggplant with green beans, fried rice, and a chicken dish with little wraps and bamboo shoots. So fresh and flavorful - all of it was just amazing! I really need to hit the internet when we return home and do some recipe research.
Next door to the noodle house was a traditional tea house, where we got a mini-version of a tea tasting ceremony. We tasted about 6 or 7 different teas and learned about the health benefits of each featured tea. Just my luck, the one noted for its slimming and healthy heart properties tasted the worst! I was tempted to buy a tea set for Mei Mei while there but we could tell it was a bit more upscale and we wanted to avoid the hard sale. Big spending at the jade house was enough for one day!
This was our hostess for the ceremony. She was so patient
with all of Mei Mei's interruptions while explaining the right ways
to drink tea and to hold tea cups.
Through all of this activity, Mei Mei did great - even though she was skipping a nap. But man, sitting back in the van for the hour drive through rush hour traffic was no picnic. It was like wrestling an octopus at points. Granted, she's easily distracted and was pretty pleasant tempered about it all but I am sure glad we use car seats in America to restrain our kiddoes. Letting her loose in a car on errand day would be downright insanity!
Finally, because I know most of you are really only here to see her and her sweet little face, here's one that The Boss snapped of us while we were admiring the blooming forsythia.
It was a beautiful day and I love that we got to spend so much of it outside in the beautiful weather to enjoy our time here and each other. Tomorrow, we've got a lighter schedule so hopefully nap time will still happen at a decent hour. We'll all need it for Saturday's big trek to The Great Wall!