I find it important to adjust to the time change, adapt to a new climate, take in some of the local customs and people. Taking this time helps the body adjust to your surroundings but it also takes your mind off of the job waiting the real reason for being here the Trekking.
To ease the group into Beijing and help with this adjustment a City tour was plan. First stop Temple of Heaven with a detour to the outdoor fitness area, provided so the people of Beijing and some of us tourists can flex or muscles.
I was amazed at how many people take advantage of this. I was like a super sized school play ground for everyone, young and old, flock to the park to, dance, do tai chi, play on the monkey bars, train using equipment to manipulate your body weight to work the muscles, sing, play musical and gamble with traditional games like mahjong and cards.
Only gambling is illegal here so they never play for money, only for fun. We soon find ourselves at the Temple of Heaven, where Heaven meets Earth and Square meets Circle, the Emperor would come to pray for good harvest and to show the people he was the son of God and could provide for them. Next off to Tiananmen Square, I felt a little trepidation walking towards it, the history, the symbolism when we stepped on to its grounds, I was more in awe of how vast and pristine it is. Even with the thousand of year old temples the surround it, Tiananmen really felt the the heart of Beijing.
Nothing is better for bonding the taking everyone shopping, next stop The Pearl Market, this is not for everyone but if you are in the mode to barter and enjoy seeing your families faces when you bring them home to weird, wonderful and knocked off items this is the place to be, I didn’t get to the live animal section but I am pretty sure you could get anything in the place.
These first days are also great to get everyone to know each other, less stress walking taking in the site and having the opportunity for casual conversation. the day was capped of by my friend Dr Jiang taking everyone out for a wonderful dinner theater night. I have not seen Dr Jiang since Vancouver, it was very nice to spend time with him and speak about patient needs in Canada as well as in China. His story will be in an upcoming post, please follow our IBD “Great Wall” Adventure.
This is an amazing team, taking important steps for a great cause, we live with it! Inspiration through Perspiration!