When we first learned that we would be moving to Korea, my parents decided that they would meet us in China – we thought that was a great idea because it’s a short trip for us (2 hour plane ride) and we would get the chance to have some once in a lifetime adventures together! We flew into China and could immediately tell that this was very different from where we live in Korea. It is such a big city and there are SO many people everywhere! Luckily when we were on the plane, we had made a friend who helped point us in the right direction to our hotel. He took us most of the way there and then we had to go our separate ways…a taxi cab driver immediately came up to us shouting Chinese numbers “I take you to your hotel: 200 Yuan!” and so Ryan did some negotiating and got us a pretty low price, so we hopped in. This guy was driving like a mad man… cutting people off and then he pulled up at an alley and told us that is where our hotel was…we were a little skeptical, but we got out and started walking down the alley…we knew it was part of the hutongs which are alleyways where the old courtyards used to be. Luckily we passed some tourists on the way who assured us that we were going the right way. The hotel (Double Happiness Hotel) was really neat because it was once the home of an Chinese scholar/dignitary – it was almost like being in a museum. They had pictures of the previous owner around and several courtyards when you could sit and relax…it was very relaxing, particularly being in the middle of Beijing in one of the hutongs.
- In between the rooms, there was a great courtyard area. In the mornings, we would sit there and read – it was surprisingly quiet for being in the middle of a huge city. We also have some great memories sitting out here in the evenings playing cards. That was actually probably one of my favorite parts of the trip – we had such a fun time being there together and the surroundings were relaxing yet different enough that you knew you were doing something completely different in a unique place together.
Ryan and I walked around for a little bit, grabbed some food and found our way to Tiananmen Square – it was closed off for a military march to go and get the Chinese flag and take it down for the evening. It was particularly crowded because Raul Castro was in town and was participating in several events around that area – they even put up the Cuban flag for him in the square.