May 20

Happy Chinese Valentine's Day/Anna's Birthday!  Today we started off at Tiananmen Square, learning the history of the location and its importance to the city. It is known as the Heaven and Peace gate.  The square is the largest in the world, at 110 acres. Saturday is a busy day, with about 80,000 people visiting the square.  We had to stick together like "sticky rice."

From the square, we headed to another park, The Alter of the Land and the Grain.  In the past, emperors would visit this park to pray for the land and grain in the country.  Our leader, Michelle, went to kindergarten here.  There were many old trees, dating back 130 years.  It was beautiful!

Next we walked to the Forbidden City.  Twenty-four emperors from both the Ming and Ching dynasty lived in this location.  Today, 3-4000 people populate the city.  The Forbidden City has over 3,000 treasures.  There are 8740 rooms in the city, and only 2/5 are open to the public.  Some of these buildings were solely for men, while others only for women. 

We then went on an Old City Tour on rickshaws, and ate lunch with a local family.  The food was really good!  Their home was worth $50,000/ square meter, and was only 200 square meters, making it a $10,000,000 house.  We ended with a climb up the drum tower and watched a drum show.  Then we went to the hotel to cool off and rest up before the acrobatic show.

The performers at the acrobatic show were very impressive. Anna was the star of the show and helped balance a spinning frisbee on a stick! We headed to our last Chinese meal of the trip. The meal consisted of the famous Peking duck, chicken, bamboo noodles and much more, but best of all birthday cake for Anna! All 19 of us sat around a big lazy Susan, it was awesome! It was very hot here today and we are all ready for the plane ride back to the United States. We have had an incredible experience here in China and Beijing and a trip to remember. Thank you for keeping up with us and see everyone soon!

Shi shi ( Thank you),

Molly and Brianna
Anna's birthday
Forbidden City
New friend
Tianamen Square


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