April 21, Monday

May 8th, 2014

After breakfast went to Hutongs (ancient alleys) for rickshaw ride. Visited a local courtyard home. The houses here do not have showers or toilets. Public toilets are available  here and there . Showers are a bike or bus ride away. We were in the lead rickshaw and the big guy was the leader of the pack. With the sign on his house the owner proclaimed he was a muslim. In the house we visited, the women lived alone and her niece painted the inside of snuff bottles for sale. Don’t use snuff, didn’t buy one.

Then went to Bell Tower for tea tasting ceremony

We then got a box lunch (not bad) and got on a plane to Xi’an (she on). Went to dinner (Place famous for its dumplings) then checked into hotel




Proud to be a muslim

Proud to be a muslim


Leader of the pack and our guy

Leader of the pack and our guy

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the home we visited. owners niece paints the inside of snuff bottles

the home we visited. owners niece paints the inside of snuff bottles

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Bell tower, tea tasting and hack a sack demo. Flt to Xi’an

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To Xi’an

Dinner in Xi’an and their incredibly clean toilets.

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April 20 Sunday

May 8th, 2014

Really wish I had taken pictures of all the stations for breakfast: Pancakes, French toast, chinese pancakes(some kind of flat egg thing with stuff in it) really great, eggs to order, omelets, dumplings, meats, rice, all kinds of pastries and breads, muffins, donuts even fruit for the health nuts.

Then off to the Great Wall at Badaling Hills. The wall once stretched 6200 miles, is 28 f high where we were and ten people can walk side by side along it. The walk from the bus to the village was uphill, as was the walk from there to the base of the wall. And  then it was all uphill. We went north on the wall. It looked easier. Most locals go south because Mao did and told everyone to walk the wall and be a hero. Larry is the guy in red with the yellow hat.

We then toured the Sacred Way of the Ming tombs after lunch

After a short break we went for a Peking Duck dinner. The crisp skin is legendary.


Our group at the Great Wall

Our group at the Great Wall


Larry, our shepard

Larry, our shepard

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The guy on the right has an automatic rifle

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Sacred Way and the birds nest. The red stuff are prayer things left by visitors

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Peking Duck Dinner: Duck cut into 128 pieces. Put some on a pancake with veggies and hosien? sauce. And yep, that is a fish head and all. Lights in lobby outside restaurant.

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April 19, Saturday

May 8th, 2014

Another fabulous breakfast at the Kerry Hotel. More than made up for last nights diner. Wish I had taken pictures. Too busy eating.

Met our group (28 of us) tour guide,Larry. Can’t say enough about this guy. University Grad, Married with one child. Wife works for the government. Excellent english. Better than many in USA.

Spent the morning at Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City. Had pocket knife confiscated at security at Forbidden City. I knew they didn’t like guns but small pocket knives – you got to be kidding. I was so happy I didn’t go to jail that I told them they could keep the knife. Some supervisor now has a good pocket knife. The really long (2 hr +) line on the side of the Square is to see Mao’s body which is brought out for viewing each day. The Forbidden City was the Imperial Palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties, has 9,999 rooms a 20 foot moat and32 ft high wall. Lots of walking but all flat. After lunch time for a nap then off to the Silk Market where I bought a $7 silk scarf(made in France) and an $8 silk(I hope) tie. After dinner it was off to the Peking Opera.

Tiananmen Square

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more of the hugh line waiting to see Mao's body

more of the hugh line waiting to see Mao’s body

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There is that line again – and he has been dead for a while


Forbidden City

The kid in Yellow is actually a tourist. They dress them up and photoshop a video showing them flying over the Forbidden City. BUT they love to pose with foreigners.The big pot was used for fires to keep water from freezing. The couch is a look into concubines quarters. The boat in the moat has govt workers cleaning trash  out of the moat.

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A peek into a concubines quarters

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Govt workers cleaning trash out of moat


Wishing well – kind of

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Silk Market

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Changing of embassy guards and old city wall


The old city wall


Those civilian looking guy at attention are the undercover guys.


Peking Opera. Star gets dressed and made up on stage prior to show

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April 18. Fri

May 6th, 2014

Free time. Great comp breakfast then cab to Summer  Palace

Saw some great signs on road.Traffic and smog were very heavy

C CTV Bldg— one of the best of the largest buildings

The rest are pictures taken on grounds of Summer Palace

We were on our own for dinner and opted for Hotel dinning room. Worst value $100 dinner. Got 3 Pawns each and very little else.

The company was good though.

I even liked the box lunches on the planes better.


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Summer Palace

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D-2 and D-1 Wed/Thur April 16/17

April 17th, 2014

It was a very long day. Up at 6 AM Wed. Left for O’Hare at 7. 9AM fly to Detroit and 12:50 Flt from Detroit to Beijing Got to hotel around 4:15 PM so we were basically up for over 22 hrs. Hard to sleep on the plane Still,  we were lucky. The two of us and some guy filled our three seat row. The guy was asked if he wanted to go to a row that only had one passenger. He did, leaving us  with three seats for the two of us. Much more comfortable. Upgrade to Economy Comfort was well worth it. Our toilet is self flushing and the seat is heated 


Our daughter Patti seeing us off



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D-4 Monday 14 April

April 14th, 2014

Laying out stuff to take on the plane
Sleep Mask, Inflatable pillow, Hacker proof credit card holder
Passport,Tour badge,Ipad, Goodie bag of pills etc.



More clowns on the Fourth

July 18th, 2008



Clowns on the Fourth

July 13th, 2008



Still more on the Fourth

July 12th, 2008

Chris(waving): a Democrat on the Republican Town Board. A friend nontheless. She was the Sgt Maj at my daughters wedding.



Jim Smith our town leader is always Uncle Sam

Even more on the Fourth Good Politicians Parade

July 9th, 2008

Our County Clerk


and our County Executive