Yesterday went pretty much according to plan. We went off to the "silk market" which says "Pearl Market" on the outside just to ensure confusion amoung the foreigners. I finished up my shopping with further haggling....only made one over-payment, but still paid about 1/7 of what I would have paid in Vancouver - for some t-shirts. Oh well, the overall savings were quite impressive. I must say I will be hearing "Hey lady" in my sleep for a few nights to come!!
From there it was off to Tiananmen Square - which it truly massive. It takes about 20 mintues to walk from one end of the whole thing to the other. The part you see on TV for demonstrations and such is only a small part of it - about 1/4 of the length. There is a busy street (about 4 lanes in each direction) that runs right through the middle of it. They had many displays around the edges of it all made with flowers in large formations like floats in a parade all with Paralympic themes. There are hugh banners for the Paralympics out over many buildings throughout the city. They are about 8 stories high and as wide as the buildings are deep. Back to Tiananmen....there are several monuments there - to the workers, to Mao, etc. From there we returned to the Village and back to work.
Our medical meeting brought the day to an end at 11 pm - a long one after the 6:30 am start.
Today was the first day that was not clear and sunny, but it was only a little foggy and a couple of degrees cooler (still close to 30 I am sure!). We started with our athletics meeting at 7:30, followed by a treatment and a relaxing breakfast. I had a few hours off so I went down to the Forbidden City. It was, however, not nearly enough time. The guide books suggest 2 hours, but I would beg to differ and suggest that 2 hours only allows you to walk briskly down the middle snapping pictures like a real tourist! I would like to go back and spend another 2 to 4 hours looking at all the displays and seeing more of the open areas. The "City" is really the size of a small city! All red tile roofs and the stereotypic Chinese architecture. The are lovely gardens in some areas, and other areas with vast open areas with bricks covering the ground. There were some amazing carvings and a small number of ornate thrones from various dynasties (Ming and Qing I think....maybe....). Anyway, I would like to go back, but may not get a chance.
I returned to the Village and have been working in the Clinic with a steady stream of customers from 2 pm until 9 pm. I escaped for dinner, and am finishing off my day with this re-living of my last couple of days. Off to bed a little earlier as things are definitely getting busier. We have 6 beds in the clinic here and they have all been full for the last 2 hours!