Its not supposed to snow in Beijing this time of year. Someone forgot to tell Mother Nature. Every day the weather man lies and says “Tomorrow will be sunny and warmer”. Never happens, so I have put on layers and layers of clothes and off to see the sights. I was feeling pretty good about mastering the subway system, but then could not find the bus to go to the Great Wall. A young couple from Shanghai could not find it either, so I did not feel so bad. They hired a local guy with a van and invited me to join them. They had their little 2 year old with them, their 6 year old niece, and both sets of parents. Parents are all from small villages so the young couple were treating them to their first “holiday”. First flights, first hotels…. Arriving in Badaling we first went for lunch, in a place with no heat, and the staff wearing parkas… real Chinese meal, with real Chinese family. The young couple spoke English so I told them how honored I was to be included. They said I was the first foreigner their parents had met – and would be a highlight of the trip. It was cold, ground covered with snow, but we climbed the Great Wall, and its not easy. Many parts are very steep – but I did it. I also visited the Forbidden City – its huge, and once you go in, you must keep going, no exit out the entrance. Tian’anmen Square is across the street and it holds a million people. It was a strange feeling to walk where so many young people died. I no longer fear getting lost, and I can go anywhere on the subway with ease. I now cough and hack like a local – I am sure if I stay I would start to spit too. Have not seen the sun, don’t think I could even if it shone, the smog is incredible here as you can see by the pictures. I went for dinner at the nice restaurant two blocks away. For all you foodies, I did not have the first thing on the menu “Pot of donkey”, or the fish heads, or the duck feet, or the pigs intestines. I did have a lovely pork and peach dish with rice and a bottle of water – for less than $6. Its always fun to see everyone when I whip out my plastic silverware. Not going to let them laugh at my attempt to use chopsticks – and wear most of my dinner. Next adventure – an overnight train trip to Xi’an.