It is currently 4:40am. I actually got more than 4 hours of sleep! Yay!! It was a very busy day yesterday. We were on the bus at 8am and didn't get back to the hotel until after 7:00pm. We were started off with a tour the Jade Factory on the way the the Great Wall. Jim took some nice pictures of the amazing jade pieces in there. It was a bit pricey, but neat to look at the beautiful craftsmanship. Then off to the Great Wall. It was really cold. In the mid to low 40s. But once we started hiking up the wall, the layers came off! We decided to take the harder route. The steps were steep and uneven and most had snow still from a couple days ago. You'll see in the pictures just how steep it was. Jim and Anna rested after a while and Will and I ventured a bit higher. So glad we did. It was breathtaking up there.
After that big hike we were ready for lunch. Another family to visit with over lunch and as good pre-ordered meal by our guides. After lunch we stopped by the Olympic Park to see the amazing structures built for the 2008 Olympics. It was there that my blond-haired, cute darter became a rock star. One mom gently pushed her little toddler girl next to Anna so that she could get a picture of the 2 of them and then she told her daughter to give Anna a kiss on the cheek. Shortly after that another group of young ladies took turns taking pictures with Anna. I was in a couple of them because Anna was just so embarrassed by all the attention. The only way she would stand for the pics is if I was in them with her. By now I was exhausted, but we had one more stop... the acrobatic show. Jim took some good pictures of the show. There were some amazing stunts. So glad I chose to not go back to the hotel.
Once we were back at the hotel, I was in nightgown and asleep shortly after 7:30pm. I had 5 solid hours of sleep and then had a few short stints of sleep until we all got up at 4:15am. This jet lag is brutal.
We have an early start to our day today. We need to be checked out, have eastern breakfast and in the lobby by 7:15am. We have a 10:20am flight to Zhengzhou. I believe it is only a 2 hr flight and then we will settle into our new hotel for the next 6 days. Isabel Day tomorrow!! We are all very anxious. I have had a great time in Beijing. Saw so many wonderful sites, but Isabel was never far from my thoughts. Every little girl around her age that I saw reminded me of her. Experiencing all the sights and sounds minded me that this is her country. It is her culture. It is who she is at her core... even after she becomes an American citizen in a couple weeks. We will do our best to help her retain this rich heritage, to embrace and love what makes her so very special in our family.
Well, off to make sure the pictures uploaded to Shutterfly ok. Next post from Zhengzhou. Please continue to pray. Jim's got a slight cold and Anna still has her nasty cough. We ask for healing, safe travels and a good day for us and Isabel tomorrow. Thank you!
P.S. I have a special message for a little boy named Noah Hester, who loves the Great Wall! Noah, it was amazing! I thought of you as I hiked tho steep steps. I hope you enjoy the pictures. I am bringing back something special for you from that day. I think you'll like it!