Saturday, January 19, 2008


No one told me Beijing would be this cold.

No one told me that Beijing would be this cold. I mean, I knew it would be cold, but not this bone-chilling, nose-freezing cold. Have I mentioned that I'm done with being cold? Well, I am. Completely. Counting down the days until we hit KL.
The bummer of this stay though is that the kids' room in our Courtyard Marriott hotel is also freezing. Last night they just made it through thanks to jetlag. We complained to the front desk today, which provided blankets and a space heater, not a fixed central heat. That's not right and I do wish we could switch the room but we're on the end of the hall with next door rooms, one with a king for us and a much bigger room for the kids. I think moving would result in shifting to another floor or having the kids move far away from us which is not an option. We're making due, but Marriott will be hearing from us. I've come to expect a lot from Marriott because I really enjoy their rooms and think their beds are the most comfortable by far. But lacking free wireless is also frustrating so maybe we just need to stay away from the Courtyards and stick with the Residence Inns. Our Residence Inns in Milwaukee were 2 bedroom suites. This place doesn't even have a microwave.
We spent today in the Forbidden City. The plan had been the Chinese History Museum only to arrive and learn it's closed. Until 2010. And it was shut down last year. I'm not joking. They have the Olympics this year and their biggest museum is closed for 3 years. So we went to the Forbidden City, mostly outdoors and completely freezing. I didn't plan on being outside for 4 hours, so we all froze our tails off walking from little museum to little museum while all the big pretty buildings were covered in scaffolding.
The high point of the visit was not the much anticipated (by me) ice skating on the Forbidden City moat, because it too wasn't open or even have any water. We saw an art exhibit which is either always there or not, but we bought our Beijing souvenirs of several silk paintings. They'll look nice at home.
We walked back to the hotel, past Tiananmen Square and into a fabulous bakery. Having snacks is so important, and I was thankful the boys ate because Jonathon was completely passed out before dinner. We had tickets for a Kung Fu show tonight but Ian asked to change them to tomorrow night. Hopefully it'll keep the boys awake and we'll still get enough sleep tomorrow night before getting up for the Great Wall on Monday morning.
Oh, one quick story. Practically the moment we exited the forbidden city ticket gate, Nicholas realized we'd left our biggest painting at the cafe clear on the end of the Forbidden City by the gardens. Ian had to buy another ticket to reenter just minutes before the gates were closed to new visitors. He reclaimed the painting without issue, thank goodness.
I'm beyond tired as it's going on 11 p.m. Saturday here. Tomorrow we'll go to church if we can find it. I don't know how Beijing is going to be ready for the Olympics. The smog is amazing, literally overwhelming. Few people speak English, which I know is more my issue than theirs. And I find the streets confusing. Wish us luck.

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