A Blooming Marvelous Day

6:45am, a cold and frosty morning in Beijing

Flowery interns trudged to the familiar coffee shop awaiting their bus ride to spectacular adventure.  I wouldn’t usually use the word ‘flowery’, but that morning the interns had taken it upon themselves to dress in the most vibrant, floral thermals.  It was awesome.

It was to be a very busy day.  Journey and Kirsty manned one coach and Jess and Alan, the other.  With the tour guides in place and the heaters firmly switched on, it was time to head off.  There was plenty wakeful an intern on Kirsty’s bus- with copious song and chant bobbing the bus cheerfully to each destination. “Build Me up Buttercup”…First stop the Ming Tombs.

At the Ming Tombs everyone scurried around clicking away at cameras and wowing the mammoth monuments.  The not-so-alert among them soon blossomed to the tales of the ‘Death Gate’ and the mysterious spiritual presence that lingered there.  The Ming Tombs soon merged into The Great Wall, where a great challenge had been set.  You see, on route, the tour guide had mentioned that Chairman Mao once said- no man is worthy of his manhood unless he has climbed to the top of the wall and anyone who did so, would be considered a hero!  Needless to say, there were abundant heroes and heroines that day!

People puffed and spluttered, striving to reach the top- scarlet cheeks and glassy eyes focused on the peak and made for their speedy trek! The cerulean sky looked on proudly as the icy air stood still to expose the dramatic backdrop.  I remember how suddenly everything turns eerily peaceful as you look out to savor the beautiful views.  Just stunning.  Others opted out of the race and posed in tai chi positions, one group even spelt out ‘China’.

I think the true crowned hero of the morning was our Journey.  He sprinted to the awaiting bus after his victorious voyage to the top of the wall and then went on to prove that he is more than just a pretty face, the king of the castle, a radio host, a master in tai chi and one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet as he went on to share with them his dulcet tones to a delightful little ditty indeed.  Bright petals of applause along with roars and screams of cheer for the gracious Journey filled the bus as it approached its next port of call – The Olympic Village.

The intergalactic construction of the jagged, metallic Birds Nest sat like a mechanical predator of the skies as everyone gathered for leaping shots before the impressive structure.  A Mexican wave or two for good will and everyone clambered back onto their bus ahead of the next wondrous quest.  In fear of totally exhausting the budding interns beyond repair, we felt it only fair to start winding down for the day and go for a spot of shopping.

YaShow in Sanlitun, thankfully wasn’t its usual heaving self but was still just as overwhelming.  Anything you could ever want is contained within the five floor indoor marketplace and with an underground bunker packed full of shoes and bags, it is like a dream for the female variety.  Luscious velvets and vibrant satins draped from the isles as an ongoing chorus of touts and peddlers spattered the souk.  For Jess and Kirsty it was a time for some pampering.  And why not?

As interns rooted and rummaged around in the maze of trinkets and treasure, Kirsty enjoyed a soothing back massage to melt those Great Wall knots and Jess opted for a manicure to wake those tired talons.  So, while our gorgeous girls kicked back, bargains were secured and keepsakes were discovered.  Jess and Kirsty definitely had the right idea as it had been one frazzling Friday! Luckily the last item on the menu for the day wasn’t a quackering one (sorry!).

For supper, Peking duck was served-and swiftly devoured I might add.  As the bouquet of rosy interns feasted happily, reflecting on their day, it was hard to believe how much they’d accomplished! The Ming Tombs, The Great Wall, the Olympic Village and YaShow had been graced by the presence of the floral friends and their China trip had only just exceeded a week!

It was yet again the end of another long and exciting day for the colorful colleagues and so any Friday night party plans were most probably dissolved by lazy evenings and early nights.  What an eventful day! Bring on the next tour trip!

Rachel Yoon

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