I wanted to taste almost everything, except what we are calling the "fear factor" egg. On the plate on the right, you can see a slice of bluish with brown-looking hard boiled egg? It is called the "preserved" egg, though when Tonio tasted it he said it tasted very sulfuric, like a rotten egg. Maybe that's why it was bluish-green. Vivi loved the pepinos (cucumbers), tomatoes, yogurt, and her fav- the cocoa krispies! She's never had them (so I guess that counts as trying "new" food in China?) and loved drinking the chocolate milk afterwards.
We met in the lobby at 8:30 to start our day long tour. First we rode the bus to the hutong neighborhood called LiuLinJie. A hutong is "an ancient city alley or lane typical in Beijing." We actually rode in a rickshaw- a man on a bike pulled us in this mini-taxi much to Vivi's delight.
Here we are in the bike-taxi, a typical storefront, and then the looking down on the hutongs from above. It was a very cold, grey, and rainy day!!
After the hutong tour, we said zài jiàn to our rickshaw driver, and took the huge touristy bus (Emily, you would LOVE it!) to the Temple of Heaven. The Temple of Heaven was built in 1420 A.D. during the Ming Dynasty (and used throughout the Qing dynasty also) so the emperors could offer sacrifices to Heaven for a prosperous harvest on the Winter Solstice every year. It is in a huge 675 acre park in the southern part of Beijing, and the Temple area is contained by a double wall. The southern area is a square, to represent the earth, and the northern area is semi-circular to represent the heavens. There are 3 main groups of buildings: the circular mound altar, where the emperors would place the sacrificial oxen, sheep, pigs, rabbits, etc; the imperial heavenly vault; and the Temple. Just for the record, Vivi and I are EXPERTS at squatty potties, having used 3 today. Vivi didn't even question it!