Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Graaaaama and Grumpa! Rush Visit

We received our third vistors this month. Brian's parents, Clive and Carol squeezed in a very quick trip -- 5 days! -- to come see us. We were all really excited to have them here. Click below to read about their visit.
Grandma and Grandpa arriving
We were bummed that our air was at its worst when they arrived. That's not fog.

We were also bummed that one of our favorite restaurants -- Home Plate BBQ -- was closed. 

They actually got a very unrepresentative visit to Beijing. Most of the city had cleared out as part of the largest human migration in history (a record being reset every year for Chinese New Year) as nearly everyone in China returns to their hometown. Beijing felt quiet and empty to us. Many shops and restaurants were closed. It did make it nicer to sight-see. 
Brian sharing info about Beijing while waiting for the subway.

Day 1 we decided to take Brian's mom, an avid shopper, and dad, a deal hound, to the Silk Market. We shopped through the many levels, wide-eyed at the chaos of it all. "I make you a deal." "I give you cheaper price." "Have a look." "Wanna shoes, bag, purse." You couldn't glance at a product without someone swooping in to try to make a deal with you. We did end up with a few small items, then headed to scout for lunch. After seeking the restaurant I had looked up ahead of time for quite awhile, and being pointed back and forth around a certain area, we learned it had closed. Typical Beijing. Everything changes so rapidly. Business open and close overnight. Seriously hungry after our market excursion and a failed attempt at locating an extinct restaurant, we settled on the familiar: Starbucks and McDonalds. 
Mom and Dad Rush in CBD after shopping

The girls were seriously excited to see their Grandparents. Clive, or Grumpa!, caused lots of laughs. Grandma had some good quality time with the girls, snuggling and reading, but had to work on getting them to call her GrandMA. At first, she was "the other Grandpa." Now, she is GraaaaaaMA, always with emphasis.
Kaleia strutting to greet Grandma and Grandpa after school 

Day 2 we enjoyed another kid-free day and visited the Forbidden City. Brian and I haven't had many of these times together. I took the opportunity to snap a bunch of pictures. I really like this one.

The main gate, with giant picture of Chairman Mao.
How do you say Big Brother in Chinese?

Later, we watched The Last Emperor. Much of it was set in this palace, which made the movie all the more interesting after having just been there. 

That day we also walked through a hutong and had noodles at a little restaurant.
Clive sweeping the streets for Chairman Mao.
Hutong alley. I still can't get over hanging meat with laundry. 
 That night, and actually the next as well, we gave them a break from Chinese food and enjoyed one of our favorite Beijing Pizza places, the Kro's Nest.

Saturday, we left the city for the first time since August and ventured up to the great wall. The wind had picked up so we were excited knowing we'd have better visibility and blue skies. After a 90 minute, $1, bus ride we arrived. It was awe inspiring. 

It was also more than FREEZING!! After a Kaleia meltdown, she and I headed into a restaurant after all of 2 minutes on the wall. Everyone else ventured up three guard houses. Magnolia was a trooper and didn't complain once. 

On their last full day, Brian took his parents for some hot pot. Clive and Carol were good sports about all the new foods we threw at them (Clive is kidding here), and seemed to enjoy most of it. Food has been a big part of our Beijing experience so it was fun to share it with them. 

They also tried to go to a temple fair, but found out they were a day early. So they toured the temple and came back to our apartment for some quality time with the grandkids. The fireworks began that afternoon -- more on that in a different post -- so they got to experience the intensity. The next night, on their flight back home, they said they could see fireworks all over, even in places that didn't seem to have any buildings around.

Thanks so much, GraaaaaaMA and Grumpa!, for coming all the way to China to visit us! We sure enjoyed seeing you.

1 comment:

theRachel said...

Clive looks like he is a fun guy to hang out with :), that is a lot of cameras!