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trip report from Pat and Tracey

Hi, Wenny,

We've been home now for a week and a half, and I have had the surgery which I was not looking forward to. But, now I would like to write that trip report for you.  Yes, indeed Tracey and I had a lovely time in China. We are the type of people who will make the best of a situation and after planning for over a year, we were certainly going to enjoy it. I am not a complainer by nature, so I do hope you take seriously what I have to say. Perhaps other travelers would be writing a scathing report, but I will keep to the facts and the resulting damages to our trip.

Upon arriving in Beijing we were greeted by our driver Mr. Wong, and taken to the car to load up the luggage. Ms. Lina shortly arrived (having been held up in traffic) and we were on our way. Mr. Wong knew exactly how to get to our hotel in the hutong. We passed impressive skyscrapers and admired the architecture. Already it was very pleasent. We came into the city by the North Gate and saw that beautiful  site. And, before we knew it we were at the hotel. Ms. Lina and Mr. Wong stayed with us until we checked in. She translated a bit for me and they took our luggage to the room. We planned on what time to meet in the morning. We were already liking our trip!

The next morning the driver and guide were there, even a little early, and we started off. We had already discussed what a long day it would be and therefore put off the Kung Fu show to another day.  No problem. I will say that I did expect someone who could speak English a bit better.  Ms. Lina was an English major, but many of her words were indeciferable. At first she spoke only to me, but after my repeating everything to Tracey and putting Tracey between us, she made a nice connection with her. Ms. Lina ia a very nice girl and very understanding, very professional. Sometimes she thought she was giving us too little information, but I assured her she was giving us enough to absorb. Everyday, we saw more beautiful things than the day before, the food was good, too, and Ms. Lina always looked after us. She loved to tell us Chinese folk stories and we loved hearing them.  Mr. Wong connected with us too. And, showed us pictures of his children. Everyday there was water in the car for us, and we did need it as the weather was warmer than we thought it would be.

So, everything in Beijing was going well. One thing that wasn't terrific was the dumpling lesson. We all thought it would be more, but the people at the house were too busy and expecting  300 people that day, so all we got to do was practice a bit with a rolled round of dough and pinching. For Tracey being a chef that was disappointing. Ms. Lina showed us pictures of dough making etc. etc., but we didn't experience that. The lady also told us to hurry with our lunches. We adjusted and it was an ''oh, well'' in our trip. (In raising my children sometimes we have an ''oh,no!'' and sometimes an''oh, well.'' so that is where that comes from).

  Sorry to say that on one day,my back hurt so much we called Mr. Wong to get us a little early, so we could go rest.  Just a little blip.  I think it is not a good idea to go to the glass plant house for lunch (near the wall) on really hot days.It was even too hot to eat in there. Another thing, for older folks ,is the walk up the mountain for the great wall. The walk to the shuttle, and then again to the cable car took over an hour and we hardly had any  energy to be on the Great Wall of China! It was magnificent though for the time we were on it!  (perhaps a car could take older peole to the base of the cable car...that would make it more bearable) We shopped a little and Ms. Lina made it a lot of fun with the bargaining.  We got pretty good at it.  Our free day was good, too. We had acquired enough confidence to venture out on our own.  We rented a boat on the lake, rode in an electric 3 wheeled vehicle, took a rickshaw ride, did some exploring, I got a

'street' massage, and we shopped. At the end of our time in Beijing we had a girl name Mary  escort us to the train station, since Ms. Lina had to get other people at the airport. No problem. Some of our favorite times in Bejing were hearing the folks singing their Mongolian song near the temple of heaven, and at the summer palace, a man letting Tracey use his big brush to make her caligraphy on the walkway. We will always fondly remember our trip to Beijing.

I am going to send you this part, and write about the Xian part later.

Sincerely, Pat Newhart😊