This morning we went to the Olympic Village. This was one of the things I was looking forward to most in China. I was admittedly obsessed with the 2008 Olympics. I stayed up all night watching them and that is what originally got me interested in coming to China. It was so neat to see the Bird's Nest and The Water Cube in person. The Bird's Nest was amazing! The architecture was so impressive. The Water Cube was right next to the Bird's Nest...I didn't realize they were so close together. It was really neat to see the places that the whole world was watching less than a year ago. We didn't have time to go in them, but a few of us are hoping to use some free time to come back later in the week.
After the Olympic Village we went to the Temple of Heaven. I was not familiar with Temple of Heaven but the buildings and grounds were beautiful. Walking in we saw a man writing on the sidewalk with a large brush and water. He wrote "Welcome" in Chinese and English for us. He was so nice and you could tell he really enjoyed entertaining the people there.
After Temple of Heaven we went to the PEARL MARKET. Oh my it was so much fun! It was basically a four floor mall with everything...pearls, jackets, chop sticks, etc. It was so much fun to bargain with the vendors there.
The whole top floor was nice pearls. I bought enough to start a pearl store myself! They were beautiful and I got lots of good things for my ladies back home. I picked out the strands and then they made the necklaces, bracelets, etc. while I waited. It was so fun to watch.
This afternoon we went to the American Embassy. It was fascinating. The security was incredibly tight. We met in the room where Secretary of State Clinton recently arranged a round table for Chinese women. While we were there, it felt just like America! Blue sky, English, and an American flag!
After our visit to the Embassy we returned to the Pearl Market for more shopping before dinner at Bei Hei Park. It was really nice and a great traditional Chinese meal. After dinner, Steve presented each member of our group with a book about Beijing and a stamp made out of jade that has our name in Chinese and English.