Kineta is one of my best friends from college. We were inseperable during those years, and having her here now has been such a blessing! It’s been great to reconnect and spend time together. Kineta just finished her MA in Counseling from Dallas Theological Seminary, and so she’s been a stressed-out student for the last 4 years. I think a break was long overdue. We had such a great time. And I got free therapy; can’t beat that! 🙂
Ohhh… funny story. I took her into BJ one day on the bus to do a marathon day of sightseeing and shopping. I’ll let you read her version of the story, because it is much more amusing and I don’t want to type it all out…
On Saturday, my friend Carrie and I went into Beijing to site see and do a little shopping. The whole day was pretty fun. We left at about 8:30am and by the time we made it to the bus stop just outside of the village there were people everywhere. It turns out that Saturday was Lunar Market day. People come from Beijing (about 45 mins) just to shop at the market, so the buses are more crowded than normal on Lunar Market days. We changed our plan and walked into the village in order to catch the bus, hoping that our hike into town would insure a seat. It didn’t. We still ended up standing, but we at least got a spot at the back of the bus. Most people squeeze toward the front, so we had a little more room to stand in. We rode in this squashed, sticky, stinky, standing state all the way into Beijing. The bus in Beijing was much better. Air conditioned and spacious, it was luxurious in comparison.
First stop, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Guess what? It was closed and the streets surrounding it were blocked off. At the time we weren’t sure why, but we didn’t worry about. We changed our plans once again and went to the Temple of Heaven instead. It was really fun. The architecture and detail were beautiful. There is an area called the Circle Mount that has a spot in the very center where if you sing or speak loudly your voice is resonant, so I sang the song from Enchanted. Yes, I did. I at least had two fans, a couple of little Chinese men enjoyed my performance.
From there we went to a couple of really cool markets. One was the pearl market where there are real pearls to be found everywhere for very very good prices. The other market was an antiques market where you can find all sorts of things from original works of art to antique furniture and house wares. After a short afternoon of shopping (short because I hate shopping as most of you know) we went to eat Middle Eastern food. Yep, that’s what you read. Seems wrong somehow, but it sure tasted good.
It was after our yummy dinner that the real drama started. We took the subway back to Tiananmen Square so that we could cross over to the bus stop. You guessed it. Tiananmen Square was still closed. It turns out the opening ceremonies for the Paralympics were going on and we couldn’t cross the street by foot or take the underpass beneath the street. After seeking out help from two police officers we were directed to take a cab. Up until Saturday, I had never been yelled at by a cab driver before. He was not happy about being asked to take us to the other side of Tiananmen Square, and he proceeded to yell expletives in Chinese and mumble under his breath the whole drive. When we reached our destination, the bus station that was our destination had also been closed for the opening ceremonies, the cabby got even madder because we refused to get out of his cab. He had to take us to a different station, from which the last bus to the village left at 8:00 pm. We made it to the bus station at 7:50 pm. Talk about cutting it close. We almost had to sleep on the streets of Beijing. It was so much fun.
Don’t worry mama, we won’t do that again.