Beijing is all cleaned up because they just hosted the Olympics. There are all new subways and they even rebuilt the airport. All over the city, there are signs with the Olympic mascots and the motto, "One World, One Dream." They also have lots of topiaries that are shaped like the Great Wall, pandas and more.
On the first night we were there, we slept in these things called yurts, which are like Asian teepees. The next day, we went to a Buddhist temple. There, we learned all about the Buddhist religion. We saw a bunch of huge Buddhas, which all represented something different. Some Buddhas represent health, safety, wisdom and longevity (which means living a long life).
On our last day in Inner Mongolia, we went to the Gobi Desert. There are all kinds of activities, including camel riding, dune buggy riding in the desert, and rolling down the dunes in a giant rubber ball. The first thing we did was camel riding. We went through the desert to see all types of huge sand sculptures carved out of big mounds of sand, including a sand sculpture of the Olympic mascots. My favorite part of the Gobi Desert was when we went into this thing called a space ball. It's a huge ball you get strapped inside, and then you roll down the dunes. To finish it all off, we slid down the dunes in a special sand sled.
After visiting the desert, we took the overnight train back to Beijing. By the time we got back to Beijing, the Paralympics had started. The Paralympics are just like the Olympics, but for people with disabilities. Lucky for us, we got tickets to go see some track and field events in the Bird's Nest. We got to see the torch lit up. We also got to see other areas of the Olympic complex, like the Water Cube and the Olympic Broadcast Tower. It was so cool to see all of the athletes. People who are blind were running races (some with guides). I really enjoyed seeing the medal ceremony. They raise the flag of each winner's country and play the gold medalist's country's national anthem.
So, that's how our first week in China went. One week down, two to go.
'Till next time!