We had a busy and tiring day today. This morning we went to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Our guide Mary warned us that as soon as we got off the bus we would be beseiged by street vendors, and boy, was she right. She told us that if we didn't want anything not to speak to them or even look at them, or they would be all over us. They were certainly persistent. There were also some people begging who were very pitiful, including a little boy with swollen deformed feet with open sores. The sights were interesting, but it was a lot of walking and everyone was very tired. We got lots of curious stares, and a few people asked to have their picture taken with Jamie. I think they zeroed in on him because of his height. One man indicated that we needed to cover Rachel with her blanket, even though the day was warm and she was covered from head to toe in polar fleece! A young woman came up to us and gave Rachel a little Chinese flag, it was so sweet of her.
This afternoon we went to the Silk Market. It was quite an experience as well. Much like the Pearl Market but with a lot more clothes, and the sellers seemed even more persistent. One girl got a good hold on my arm and I wasn't sure she was ever going to let me go! One lady in our group said that some of them would grab her long hair and pull on it to get her attention. We bought some outfits for the girls and a few other trinkets.
We were exhausted when we got back to the hotel so we ordered Papa John's pizza delivery. Like most of the western food here, it was a bit different, but not too bad.
Tomorrow we are doing a hutong tour and a Peking Duck Dinner. In the evening we will have a group picture taken. It will be our last night together as a group since some are leaving on Thursday. I can't believe that our time here is almost at an end, it really has gone by quickly!
Today on the bus I was looking around at all of the babies and marvelling at the change in them since they came to us. Where at first they were solemn and scared-looking, some crying, some staring silently, they are now smiling, laughing and playing with their new parents. It is truly a beautiful thing to watch these new families as they grow and change together with every day.
Rachel is becoming much more secure and will now play by herself (meaning not on our laps) on the bed or the floor for short times. She can crawl all the way across the room, and she is trying out standing by herself. She has really surprised us with her motor skills. No delays here! I think she will be walking well before her first birthday.