Today was a busy but interesting day for the Journey East group. We woke up at 5 AM to go from Hohhot to Beijing. Although we only spent about 8 days in Hohhot, it was a bit sad to leave the people there who had formed relationships with us like our tour guides and dance partners. Our final performance went well in my opinion, even though we only had a week to practice the songs and dances. It was very relaxing to know that the performances were over and that we were going to be tourists for the rest of the trip.
We made it to the airport and enjoyed standing in line while half asleep. I fell asleep in the plane and gained a little bit of my energy back for Beijing. We arrived in Beijing smoothly and were happy to get “lunch” at a dumpling restaurant. There was lots of good food and the spices seemed really tasty to me.
We went to Tiananmen Square after eating, and we were greeted by a warm weather. To some people it might be mild, but to a Vermonter who left home in the middle of the snow, it was awfully hot. I enjoyed the beautiful sites despite being thirsty and tired. I noticed lots of foreigners in the Forbidden City complex, meaning it must be very popular. I walked along a pathway that emperors supposedly walked on and saw many beautiful buildings. The Forbidden City is said to have over 9,000 rooms, an amazing feat for its time.
It was somewhat strange settling back into the same hotel in Beijing in which we started the trip. It is a little sad that our trip is coming to an end, but on our journey, we have seen more of China than most people, including the Chinese, will see in their lifetimes. We have been from Beijing to Kaili to Mile to Chongqing to Chengdu to Qufu to Hohhot and back to Beijing. I have probably seen more of China at this point than I have seen in the US. As we prepare to head back to Vermont, I hope that everyone will bring back good memories from this trip.