Today was our last full day in Beijing. I started the day with a quick workout at the hotel gym followed by breakfast at the hotel, which was an amazing buffet.
We then boarded our rented van, and I discussed navigation and drop off/pick up locations with our driver in Chinese. After a brief bus ride and a few security checks, we were at Tiananmen Square. Even though it was apparently not too busy at Tiananmen Square today compared to other days, I was still shocked at the large crowds of people who continued to flow into the area.
We went through an underground passage to the Forbidden City, and I was amazed by the architecture and design. Just thinking of the painstaking detail and effort spent on the rooms and buildings is incredible.
After lunch at the hotel, we then went to the Summer Palace. The visual design and details were beautiful, and the scenery of the lake was breathtaking.
Then, when we returned to the hotel, I was greeted by a family friend, my dad’s best friend’s son, who is basically family. He travelled three hours by train from the city he works in to see me, and it was really wonderful getting to speak with him and meet more of my family. We talked for about an hour and a half in the lobby of the hotel before joining the rest of the group for dinner.
We went to the nearby mall for dinner with my family friend and Kevin’s aunt. It was a really special experience to be able to spend more time with our families and for the rest of the group to truly experience a Chinese dinner. It’s safe to say that some of the group was shocked in the differences between Chinese and American etiquette.
We ate roasted pork, chicken, scallion pancakes (again), garlic-covered eggplants, hot pot rice, and more. Kevin’s aunt also brought authentic Beijing desserts for us to try, and they were delicious.
After returning to the hotel, my family friend left for the train station to return to the city he works in, Chengdu. Because it’s our last night, Elizabeth and I decided to visit the spa and pool area, and spent some time in the hot tub and sauna. It was a good way to relax our muscles after our early-morning workout and to prepare our bodies for the flight tomorrow.
Every day here feels so long because it is jam-packed and so eventful, and I am so grateful for the experiences I’ve had in Beijing.