Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Panjiayuan Market

The long weekend ended with a trip to Panjiayuan Market. Li Xin came over to watch the girls and we loaded into a car with a friend to the trip into town. Being up in Shunyi has many benefits but at times we definitely wonder what country we are living in so the excursion into Beijing was needed. The market is a good sized one - from the China Guide

The Panjiayuan Market is a super shopping market for all Chinese arts and crafts. It is made up of over three thousand individual stalls covering 48,500 square metres. There really is something for everyone here. Even Hillary Clinton has shopped at Panjiayuan. 

We made a few small purchases because our shipment from Taiwan is still slowly making its way toward us and we've forgotten all that is coming.
First view - a pleasant level of crowds
Art stalls
Calligraphy supplies

Top view
After the market, we headed to a hutong for lunch and a quick stroll before returning home to the wee ones.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

We've been moving

Blink and it's gone  - that is what is happening to out time these days. It is hard to believe that we are bumping into the two month milestone of being in Beijing. Officially, our days at the apartment end this weekend but we actually spent the last two weeks slowly moving in and spending our nights at our house. Yay! The transition was painless as the girls quickly enjoyed the extra space and back yard while Audrey began logging in serious sunbeam time. (A downside has been our lack of connectivity so sorry if it has seemed like we were out of touch. We were.)

To help with the move, we commissioned a couple of super heroes to come by for the heavy lifting. They donned their suits and got to work!

The new house has lots of space for the girls to work on their skating technique

The past weekend was a long one due to the mid-autumn festival and we spent part of the time getting settled and working on garden space. Our house is on a corner lot and we are fortunate to have a nice side yard. We began pulling out grass with hopes of raised beds by winter time!

The girls thought soil to be much more fun than grass and naturally gravitated to the garden area where large amounts of soil were poured on Sage's head.

Finally, some celebration was in order so we packed up into the Cougar

and headed out for some ice cream.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Pool Time

Last weekend, the sunshine provided us with the extra push to go to the swimming pool inside Dragon's Bay - where we are currently living. The girls hopped into their suits with excitement and we made our way down to have a few naughty clouds meet us there. The temperature dropped a bit but we still managed to have some fun.

Xian seems to have developed a love for the water and likes to explore in the pool. This one has a nice kids area that lets her explore without the deep-end drop off.

Sage has trouble staying warm. Her teeth start chattering and she wraps herself around the nearest body in search of warmth.

Sage wants to have fun in the water and will occasionally unwrap herself in an attempt to join her sister.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

to the Wall, to the Wall, to the Great Wall we go!

A healthy dose of bustle caught our attention as we arrived at the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China. Vendors of t-shirts, Chinese paintings, sculptures, hats, sunglasses, water, beer, fruit and more hawked their wares. I love knowing that everyone has a "Good price for you." though we kept on moving up the paved walkway. The drive to this area took about an hour from Shunyi and I continue to be amazed at the beautiful countryside surrounding Beijing. What was I expecting? Wall to wall factories pumping out thick, dark air? Today we passed fields of corn, streets lined with some sort of willow, fruit orchards and a few rivers. Mountains sprung up in the horizon and we soon began climbing uphill.

Heading up past the vendors

Stairs, stairs, stairs and more stairs occupied us for the first bit though they eventually gave way to segments of path in between. 

The girls decided that they wanted to walk by themselves so down they went. Fortunately, few people also walked the trail and Sage and Xian were left to their own devices.

The climb up finished at the base of the wall and certain spots revealed stair access to the top of the wall. 

Sage at the base of the wall

Hanging out just before climbing to the top of the wall

Once on top of the wall, our eyes followed the winding rock path across hills until the Great Wall passed behind peaks.

In front of a guard tower.
The guard towers were much larger than I first thought. Positioned at regular intervals along the wall, these towers consist of several rooms. They provided us a nice break from the sun and were often filled with giggles as children ran the narrow passageways.

Peeking out from the wall gaps.

And it goes on and on...
The girls worked hard to walk on the Wall, but the stairs took their toll and they tuckered out. Making our way to another guard house, we found a path that took us to the base of the wall and out along a small path. The path led to a series of choices for the descent: stairs, a ski lift or a toboggan ride. The girls voted for the toboggan ride so we loaded on and began sliding!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sunday Gymnies

With perfect concentration, the young gymnast makes her way down the balance beam. All eyes are on her as the Londoner in the Stars and Stripes completes her routine! Sundays are time to romp and roll. Equipment at school is pulled out and little ones take to the floor. 

Sage practicing her dismount
It's a fun way to get the kids active and will be awesome once winter rolls around. Kids zoom about as parents join or brush the Sunday morning sleep away as they down cups of coffee (also extra nice as the weather cools).

Moving up to the big girl beam

Break time

On this trip, the sun shone bright so the girls played for a bit and then we went outside. The heat was up so off came the clothes and into the sprinklers.