Travelling around a city with over 21 million residents can have it's challenges. While walking down the street from our hotel in Beijing recently, we found alternatives to the usual cars and bicycles we normally see around the city.
No doubt these vehicles (except for the push-bike & cart) are handy and zippy for busy, city life. And of course great for parking in tight spots!
On our recent trip to visit, we were fortunate enough to have extra luggage allowance with the airline. This enabled us to pack and take a bag full of goodies for the children, without compromising on our own luggage requirements.
So after travelling 16 hours 25 minutes in the air and 6 hours 20 minutes on a train (plus a number of taxi rides) the black bag finally arrived at it's final destination.
The really cute things is that each child chose a particular jumper and insisted on wearing it, even though the temperature was approximately 26deg that day. (Sorry we aren't able to post pictures).
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In just a few short weeks, we will be heading up for another visit. It's been two years since our last trip, and there has been a lot of changes during that time.
Some of the children have been adopted and new children have come into the Home. The beds are never empty for long. Also a few of our dear friends have left the country and moved on to new ventures.
And there is a whole new Foster Home to visit. Last time we visited, the Home was set up and ready but empty of children. We were taken on a tour of the new facilities, and sat in the lounge with the Directors discussing their plans for this new Home. Then together we prayed into their vision, for the children and for the key staff that were still required.
A few months after we arrived back in Auckland, the staff were found and the first of the children arrived. It will be exciting to see this new Home full of love, laughter and children waiting for their forever families to find them.
So it will again be a trip full of newness ... meeting new children, and making new friends with the staff and volunteers. And no doubt there will be other new things to discover once we arrive.
We are excited!
We felt the warmth when we first walked off the plane. It was so refreshing to feel after leaving the cold weather back home. It was obvious to us that at the very least, we would enjoy the weather on this trip.
Our first few days were planned with NOTHING organised. It was our down-time to adjust to being back and orient ourselves again with this beautiful city that we love so much. Beijing is our favourite place; we don't really understand why, but it has drawn our hearts each time we have visited. Sometimes on visits we just want to be there ... not doing anything specific, walking the streets, catching the subway or riding around in taxis and chatting to locals and foreign tourists. It is a city so full of life with a constant flow of people. The only real downside are the days when it's smoggy or really cold.
One of the fun things to do in this city is ride around in either a taxi or van. The traffic during daylight hours can crawl along, which provides a fabulous opportunity to see people, buildings and the scenery. It is always entertaining. And you wouldn't believe how many routes there are from the airport to the city! Each time we arrive it seems we travel different roads to reach the same destination. We don't mind as it gives us a new view of the city, and when all of a sudden we come across a familar landmark there is a sense of excitement... a sign that we are close to our hotel. Then we can check-in, freshen up and head out for a long walk to see what has changed.
The highlight for me during the first three days of our trip was walking into the church forecourt each evening. The forecourt would be full of people exercising to music or performing dance moves. There was always more than 1 group: the large bunch of line dancers, the waltzing group in the back corner and the breakdancers towards the road. Then down the steps to the left were the jazzercisers. Each group had their own music playing at it's own volume. It was a fantastic array of noise, movement and co-ordination. I joined in a couple of times (Paul was too shy!) and was rewarded with instant smiles and giggles as I clumsily tried to follow the moves.
During the day we visited the Beijing Zoo, the Summer Palace and walked around our favourite walking street (Wangfujing) checking out the new shops, visiting familiar ones and favourite eating places. I'll share more about these and other aspects of out trip in future posts.
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Paul & Julie Averes are passionate about helping Orphans. They travel yearly to visit orphans and to assist and encourage those who care for orphans.