Janet, Michelle, & KarenIn the morning we traveled to Tianamen Square and the Forbidden City

We were surprised at how large they both were. Tianamen Square is the largest square in the world. It was decorated with some beautiful floral scenes. Janet, Michelle, and Karen are in the picture.

Olympic 2008 floral sceneThis is an Olympic 2008 scene. Beijing and China are very excited about hosting the Olympic games next year. A great deal of Government money is coming to Beijing for new constructions and repairs.


Olympic rowersThe topiary throughout the square were cut to represent various Olympic sports.







Bathroom at TiananmenHint: When leaving Tianamen square to enter the Forbidden City, wait and use the restrooms inside the compound. Not knowing this, the ladies decided to use the facilities outside the compound. The restroom was wall to wall people and you had to pick your line. As you can tell by the picture, it was better to take the ones closer to the entrance. Otherwise, you would have to fight your way to the corner stalls. When it was your turn, you had to close the door quickly or the local person behind you would try to join you.

The stalls had holes in the floor and a step-on flush pedal. You had to flush and run or risk getting sprayed. This is when we started our restroom ratings.

* - all stalls were holes in the floor, no toilet paper, and no paper towel or blowers.

** - one western toilet, and the rest holes in the floor, no toilet paper, and no paper towel or blowers.

*** - more than one western toilet, toilet paper on the wall outside the stall (get it before you enter), and paper towel or a blower.

**** - mostly western toilets, toilet paper in the stalls, and paper towel.

***** - all western toilets, toilet paper in the stalls, paper towel, and hand lotion. Wow luxury!

We even got our national guide involved in our rating system. He started announcing the rating of the restroom at our stops.



Bob in the Forbidden CityBob in the Forbidden City. There are 9,999 rooms in the compound. We only were able to see a small part in our allotted time.


Robbie the tulipA tulip in the Forbidden City for Jim.





Janet in the Forbidden cityJanet in the Forbidden City

The morning trip was followed by a Dim Sum lunch at the Kerry Center hotel. We ate too much and most of us ended up skipping dinner. The Dim Sum was very good.

Bob and Janet in HutongIn the afternoon, we traveled to Hutong region of Beijing. We all boarded rickshaws and toured the narrow streets of the Hutong district. We stopped to visit a local family's home and the Drum tower.


This the inside of the Drum tower.Drum Tower The Chinese name is Qi Zheng which means orderly Administration. There were very steep stairs we had to climb to reach the drum room. We had a fantastic view of the city.


Hutong Family HouseThis is a picture of the local home we were invited into. She served us tea as soon as we arrived. She has owned the home for 50 yrs. & can pass it down to her children. The home is set up in a courtyard style with four units. The center home is for the grandparents & the 2 side units are for the children & the fourth unit is for the child of the grandparents. The home was large by Chinese standards. It had 3 bedrooms & only 3 people lived there. Usually a house this size would have 20 people. They had to use a central toilet that was along the street. They didn't have a toilet in the house. They did have a shower & a sink.