China Team Update #19
It is now midnight as I finally have the opportunity to stop and prepare an update for today. And my laptop is still working wonderfully – certainly a technological miracle of sorts. Most of our group are in bed and preparing for our journey home. We love China and her people; but we also love our families and are ready to see them again. Today was our last full day and tomorrow will seem like two days in one. But for now, a recap of today…
Our morning began at 8:30 a.m. with a group breakfast that was enjoyed by almost all. We still have some who are feeling puny and decided to eat lightly this morning. There are many food items on the buffet at the hotel so everyone has a choice that pleases their palate. They fix yogurt that is made to drink with a straw and does not use any sugar in preparation… honey is used instead. Many in our group have enjoyed this China specialty.
Once our breakfast was completed, we left the hotel at 9:30 a.m. to drive to a place called the Silk Market. There are hundreds of “shops” that sell anything that you can think of, generally speaking. We allowed the group some four hours to shop for their family and friends. I can say this, by the looks of the bags that were carried to the bus, many of you are going to have some rather spectacular Christmas presents. Many in our group walked to McDonalds for lunch. After eating so much delicious and healthy Chinese food, McDonalds was not as good as I thought it might be. I have really enjoyed the Chinese food! I’ve lost weight and feel great. One of our team members has lost at least eight pounds; I shall allow him/her to reveal the results of their weight-loss plan.
I was able to find a pretty neat gift for the young men of our church. I look forward to seeing all of the children and teenagers on Sunday evening following the testimony service. It is a thrill to find some unique gift to give to them after returning from a mission trip.
Once the shopping was completed, we reboarded the bus for a short trip back to the Pearl Market as several had an item or two to return or exchange. Many stopped by Lisa Tan’s Pearl Shop. She did not charge anyone in our group anything above the wholesale price that she paid. I can tell you that several made out very, very well. There will be some beautiful jewelry worn on Sunday. On the bus there was a buzz with everyone talking about their “deals.” You see, nothing has a price on it. Everything you buy is negotiated. The key to success is to find that bottom line when you believe you are making a good deal. For example, Daniel purchased a reversible silk robe (that he modeled for all of us on the bus) for 100 RMB. He was very proud of his deal, as he should have been. However, Jonathan purchased from a different store the same reversible robe for 75 RMB. Everyone had a great time and there was so much laughter in the bus.
All shopping is now complete! After boarding the bus at the Pearl Market, we drove to a Chinese restaurant for a Peking duck dinner. The food was good (not the best Chinese meal we have eaten) and the duck was delicious. However, Lauren R gave us all quite a fright. She choked on a piece of bread and could not catch her breath. She was choking… I jumped to my feet and was putting my arms around her to pull her to her feet when her hand shot up in the air to stop. She took a couple more gasps of air and the bread went on down! She lost her appetite and I broke out into a body sweat. Pastor Woody and Daniel were sitting across from her and were preparing to duck if the Heimlich maneuver was used =)
Once supper was completed we drove on our bus to the Beijing Chaoyang Theater to watch the Chinese acrobatics show. Folks, it was spectacular and everyone in our group laughed, cheered, winced, and clapped at the awesome display of acrobatics. I shall allow the team members to tell their family and friends about this incredible show.
Once the show was completed around 8:35 p.m., we boarded our bus for the final time of the day and returned to our hotel. Everyone began working on packing their suitcases and trunks for the return trip in just a few hours.
Our schedule is to eat breakfast as a group one final time in the morning. Once breakfast is completed we will bring our luggage and trunks to the lobby to be weighed and then we will load the bus. Once the bus is loaded, we will drive to the Birdsnest and Water Cube to have a group picture. We will then begin the long journey home. We will arrive at the PEK airport around 12:30 p.m. We are scheduled to depart on Asiana Airlines at 3:30 p.m. on flight #336. We will arrive in Seoul, South Korea at 6:30 p.m. We will then depart from the ICN airport on Asiana Airlines, flight #204, at 8:20 p.m. and fly 11 hours and 30 minutes until we arrive at the LAX airport at 11:30 a.m. – ALL STILL IN THE SAME DAY!
The group is saddened to leave China for we love these people; however, there is no shortage of excitement about the group returning to see spouses, children, grandchildren, and friends! This will be my last update until I return to TBT and prepare my final thoughts of this trip. Until then, pray for our safe return and for those who are still a little “under the weather.”