Tian'anmen Square, Forbidden City, and the hutongs


I'm apologizing in advance for the barrage of photos.  I really did try to cut down the number I wanted to share...it was kinda hard though. lol  Kuddos to you if you hang in there to the end of this post.

Anyway, yesterday started early for us.  We met our wonderful guide Grace in the hotel lobby at 8:30am and headed toward a very popular and crowded tourist spot- Tian'anmen Square, the Forbidden City, and the hutongs.

It's always amazing how many people can fit in the square yet barely make it look busy.  Right away the Howard boys were followed and photographed.  My two dumplings patiently waited during all the photo sessions.

 After pushing our way through the crowds at the entrance into the Forbidden City, also known as the Imperial Palace, we eventually made our way to the Hall of Supreme Harmony.  This is where the emperor's throne was located.  Our guide Grace told us that just last month they finished repainting the exterior beams.  So thankfully our photos don't include any scaffolding.  Getting to see the throne was like fighting your way onto the subway. So we really didn't get a great view.  Thankfully, though, the lion statues were out front.  Caleb and Madeline love looking for them everywhere.

 We took lots of breaks because it truly was a lot of walking.  Our two dumplings get along so well with all the Howard boys.  It's so awesome to see them hanging out together.

 Our whole walk through the city, our group was constantly stopped to take photos.  We met some nice people from Tibet.
 A lot of the people were taken with Nate because he's the youngest Howard boy.  This guy asked lots of questions. Another man gave all the kids yuan (Chinese money.)

 You can see in the photo below how faded the painting is on some parts of the buildings.
 We are constantly eating snacks throughout the day as we tour.  Gummy worms are always a hit with the three youngest.
 Here is our beautiful and wonderful guide Grace.  She's so sweet and generous with the kids.

 We walked over to the west side of the city and checked out how the concubines lived.

 We eventually made it all the way to the northern part of the city where the Imperial Gardens are located.

 We stopped to potty and eat some snacks.  If you look closely in the photo below, you can see the lady inside the snack shop watching the kids.  Pretty standard.

 After exiting the city at the north, it was time to take a rickshaw ride through the hutongs.  We also did this 5 years ago before we adopted Caleb.  However, I have to tell you that this tour was much better.  We saw so much more.  Our guide wore the neon green top on the far left of this photo.

 The shot above is probably one of my favorite shots of the day (and I took a ton.)  It truly embodies China in the present.  Striving to be modern, westernized, embracing captialism as seen by the beautiful young woman in her modern dress and umbrella..completely surrounded by ancient China as reflected in the hutongs.  Such a dichotomy.  And then, there was the graffiti and modern cars.

 As I said earlier, this tour was much longer than the one we took 5 years ago.  We passed the lake in the north and went through the 100 bars north lake district.  The bars had very foreign names, again mixed with traditional Chinese.

 There was so much dust as we rode along in the rickshaw that it became a bit hard to breath.  Bathrooms are few and far between.  So mamas and babas do what they have to do for their little ones. This is a very common scene around town.
 Our guide Grace wanted to take us over to the Bird's Nest and Water Cube for a photo op.  So we pulled off the highway and climbed up the side of an overpass.  It was too hard to see the Water Cube because of some trees, but we could clearly see the Bird's Nest.
 As we were making our way back down, a man selling kites tried to get us to buy some.
 And this last photo sums up how the Howard boys feel about the dumplings.  Biggest boy Chase is always looking out for Caleb.  It just melts my heart.
Well, today is a travel day for us.  We will be taking a high speed train to Taiyuan.  Caleb is disappointed it's not a bullet train.  I'm sad for him.  I wish it was too, but Taiyuan is just too close to Beijing.  We will arrive late this afternoon and will settle into our hotel.  First on the list is laundry.  We have packed an entire suitcase full of dirty, smelly clothes....one whole suitcase!  It's hard to believe this time tomorrow we will have laid eyes on our precious Havi, and she will be in our arms.  Please pray for her transition and also for her foster family.  I can't imagine the pain and loss they are also experiencing right now.  Thanks!

But before I end this post, I have to wish the best Baba in the entire world a very Happy Father's Day. This year is your last Father's Day with just two dumplings to hold.  You have a very special, belated Father's Day gift waiting for you in Taiyuan!

7 sweet words:

Fannie Sunday, June 16, 2013  

Awesome pictures!! :) So excited for Havi Day!!! I'm really enjoying following along on your trip! So glad the kiddos get a chance to experience their birth country. What a special thing!!

Can't wait to see Havi!!

Praying for her and for you guys.

Deb Sunday, June 16, 2013  

I just love seeing your dumplings enjoying their birth country. It truly looks like you are all having the time of your lives. So happy to hear about your new accomodations. Sleep well tonight. We cannot wait to meet Havi!!!!!!

Hugs to everyone! Btw, I left you some love on my blog. Stop by to check it out.

Jennie Sunday, June 16, 2013  

Eva, Thank so much for sharing the wonderful pictures. I'm Chinese from Singapore, and haven't visited China yet -so you pictures are a real treat! The 2 dumplings are adorable. Love Madeline's dresses! Looking forward to seeing pictures of Havi. Cheerio for now,

michele Sunday, June 16, 2013  

Wow! What a trip so far, all the pictures are awesome, and really capture the trip. Can't wait to meet our Havi!!! God Bless all!!!
Happy Father's Day!! This will be one to remember!
Love your family,
John, Michele & Lydia

Fliss and Mike Adventures Sunday, June 16, 2013  

It s the first chance I have had to catch up. Love the photos... I love looking at them. Take care and hugs to all...

Jenna Monday, June 17, 2013  

Can't wait to see you guys again and to meet your sweet Havi. It was such a joy to get to know your family.

Jenna Radecke Tuesday, June 18, 2013  

Hi Domkowski Family! Eva, I have soooo enjoyed following along with your adventures! Your pictures are beautiful (I suppose not too difficult when you have 3 precious dumplings!). Havi is just scrumptious! I can't even imagine how difficult the transition is for all of you, but I'm sure things will improve every day with the love she feels from you, Patrick, Caleb and Madeline. We are so excited to meet this precious angel! Have a wonderful rest of your trip and we hope to see you all soon. Thanks again for sharing!
Love, Jason, Jenna and our monsters :)


About This Blog

This blog is a place where we have shared our lives with family and friends while we waited to bring our daughter, Madeline, home from China and while we actually traveled to China for her. It is also a place where we will continue to share our life experiences, as we try to glorify God and raise our two precious dumplings from China.

And now we wait to bring Havi home from China.

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