March 17, 2011

Beijing Diary

Wow! So sorry about the long break, probably the longest stretch that I haven’t blogged since the fam moved to China.

And it’s really a shame, because we’ve had some stuff going on lately that’s blog worthy. Mainly, the trip that Sydney and I took to Beijing. A couple weeks ago the two of us set-off for the capital to renew Sydney’s passport at the U.S. Embassy. I was nervous about the business end of the trip, but was excited to get to take my oldest on a trip with her dad.

I decided on taking the overnight train, instead of flying (mainly because it saves me the cost of flying Sydney). It was late Tuesday night (March 1st) that we boarded our train. Our section of the train had a lot of Uyghur people (a minority group here that live more towards the west of China). I had a moment of fear when I thought of “Home Alone 2” and how Kevin flies to New York instead of Florida… I was worried that maybe we got on the wrong train and would wake up in the Western part of China, instead of Beijing. Luckily for Sydney and I we DID board the right train.

A cute memory I will keep is of Sydney in the middle of the night sitting up to look out the window of the train. One time she told me she could see stars (I doubted her), but when I leaned over, sure enough, we could see tons of stars.

One of my favorite quotes from the trip came from Sydney when we were on the train and she referred to western toilets as “English pottys”.

The next day we arrived in Beijing. It was exhausting to pull my luggage through the Train station/streets of Beijing/Subway system, but once we got to our hotel, it was all worth it… Because, it was literally one of the nicest hotel rooms I’ve ever stayed in. We dropped our luggage off, made some calls, and then we were off to IKEA (Going to this store is a MUST every time we’re in Beijing or Hong Kong). It also helps my wife let me leave her with all the kids, if I’m going to come home with stuff for our house.

(Side note: I would give IKEA a score of 8 out of 10 as a store and about a -2.5 out of 10 as a restaurant, their food is terrible)

We bought a few things and then headed back to the hotel. I was exhausted and I knew that Sydney was also, but I convinced her into going to TGIF’s for dinner. To be honest, I would have rather got junk food from the 7-11 and sat in our hotel room, but it’s not too often that I get the chance to be on a trip with my daughter and knew that I needed to make the most of it. Dinner was such a blast and we had a good time, I was super grateful that despite our tiredness, we made the effort to go.

Also, that night I taught my daughter how to play the card game “War”, which was easily one of my highlights from our trip. But, I was quickly reminded as to why “War” has never really become a super popular card game… because it takes nearly three hours to finish a game! (slight exaggeration)

The next morning we were off to our passport application appointment at the U.S. Embassy. I was nervous that I had forgotten something and would not get to finish Sydney’s passport renewal, luckily I had all of the important stuff (minus a couple things which I can mail from Xian). After that we had TGIF’s again for lunch (after checking out at our hotel) and that night we were sitting at the train station to head back to our home in Xian. Before getting on the train I interviewed Sydney a bit, here was our exchange:

Me: “What was your favorite thing (from the trip)?”
Sydney: “The onion rings were good. And yellow sauce.” (We must have been on different trips, because we never once had onion rings. My guess is that the yellow sauce she referred to was the honey mustard we had at TGIF’s.)

Me: “What’s your favorite thing we did?”
Sydney: “Sleeping” (Geez, I didn’t know the trip was so exciting) , then she said something like, “Hanging out with Daddy” (I’m glad I could make it onto her exclusive list)

Me: “Anything else about the trip (that you wanna share)”?
Sydney: “Playing with the iTouch on the train, like this, Chug-a-chug-a Choo choo!” (hmmm)

A little later we got onto our overnight train and Sydney watched movies on our iTouch and after a while drifted off to sleep… I wish that that was the end of the trip, but it was a few hours later when Sydney woke up and proceeded to throw up a few times. And our train was so hot we couldn’t sleep. The next morning we got into a cab and again Sydney throw up, this time into my hoodie which I was holding in front of her…

We did make it home, and I was so glad to have this unique trip with Sydney.

That’s the recap, hope you enjoyed it,
The Petersons

P.S. The iTouch is one of the single greatest entertainment devices ever created, thanks Jake and Erin for generously giving us one!


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