Friday, December 13th
Our guide stood on the edge of a corded-off barrier where more people than I could count were appreciatively staring at our strange party. It was like a narrow street with spectators on both sides. People were jostling, pointing, jabbing, talking in foreign tongue. I was much relieved to see our petite guide, who measured in about Fritz's height, in her fluorescent green belted coat and in knee high white boots with diamond bracelets at the ankles. She carried a sign that bore my name. For one amazing moment I didn't feel lost anymore. Then she greeted us and asked our names, all the while telling "the babies" to stay close. Her warning fresh in our ears, we watched her fluorescent green back weave skillfully through the masses and her white boots carried her further from us.
I haven't learned the art of pushing strangers and without white boots of my own, my feet felt like lead.
When we connected with our ground transportation - Master Shifu didn't wear white boots, but we soon found that he had the uncanny ability to glide through pushing traffic as if his tires were his second skin. He waited for no one and that is the reason the ride from the airport to the hotel (all in Beijing) took an hour and a half instead of three.
The hotel seemed very far away form the mythical tortoise dragon airport. The streets were packed as if all 20 million inhabitants were hoping to arrive somewhere.
The Summer Palace in Beijing, our guide with the kids