Starting bright and early the traveling never stopped! We visited the Summer Palace and one of the imperial gardens first. At this location we were able to take a boat ride and see the Palace and 17 Arches Bridge. On the bridge elders fly kites and I met an 87 year old man who comes every day to fly his. The 9th arch on the bridge was designated for the emperor only and the farther out you got the less your rank. This was also true of the heights of the buildings we saw today; the higher the better. We also saw trees dating back over 500 years! An interesting story I heard while on the boat is that the emperor had to treat the people kindly because he was like a boat and they were the water. If he treated them right they would help him float!

The second stop was the ancient city, otherwise known as Chairmen street. This was a fantastic place to find bargains and lots of souvenirs! It was nothing but shops upon shops! And a street of food and more food. We only stayed on the main roads but by looking at a map I could see we barely covered any ground. The architecture of the shops was very beautiful and more like what I expected China to look like! 

Down the road from our shopping adventures, we went into the Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall. This is a museum dedicated to showing Beijing's progress and houses a large model of the city. Across from the museum and ancient streets Tiananmen Square awaited us. This location is 44 hectors and can accommodate 1 million people at a time. It is a place where foreign leaders are welcomed. It was neat to see that, whatever leader is visiting at the time, their countries' flag will be flown. 

We entered the Emperor city next where lots of emperors have lived. Apparently both emperor and empress have their own building. Each building is very ornate and traditional. Dragon symbols represent the emperor and the Phoenix symbols represents the empress. We were able to walk on brick courtyard that was over 500 years old! That was a lot of history to be walking on! We also went through another imperial garden which was home to a Love tree. The Love tree is two trees intertwined repressing the connection of the emperor and empress. 

Our last stop was the Olympic square. The Water Cube and Bird's Nest are an awesome sight to see! It was cool to be in a place I'd seen on tv. We also saw the building the gymnastics were head in, the Olympic Ring tower, Seven Star Hotels, and other structures build just for the 2008 Beijing Olympics!

Since it was my Birthday today the girls made me a sign to carry around to each location to take pictures with. The group also sang Happy Birthday to me in Chinese. In front if the Water Cube I was able to fly a kite thanks to Lin Pang! To end my wonderful day we had an expensive meal and stopped by a cake shop to get some dessert. I got a piece of cake with chocolate, a strawberry, and a cherry on top! I will always remember this birthday because I was able to walk through so much history and where many accomplished and ordinary people have walked before! 

Things I learned today: 
- In the old days women would bind their feet so they looked smaller. Women with big feet couldn't marry so they went through a lot of pain to try and make their feet small. 


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