Location: Datong & Taiyuan
Today was the second day of our trip outside of Beijing. We checked out of the nice continental hotel and took our tour bus to the hanging monastery. The monastery was built on a cliff and had a lot of rooms filled with different statues. Because it was so crowded, it took us more than an hour to get through the monastery. After the monastery, we stopped somewhere on the side of the road to eat lunch. As we were in northern China, the restaurant did not serve rice. Then we took a five-hour bus ride to the Tai Yuan state-run orphanage to talk to and play with mentally disabled kids of all ages who were in a special section run by another organization like Little Flower. Due to laws restricting foreigners, we were not allowed to visit the main section of the orphanage. After the orphanage we went into Tai Yuan to a fancy noodle restaurant. We were all really hungry and for the first time finished everything served to us on the table. Mani even finished her massive bowl of rice. We waited in the restaurant for another half hour to watch a noodle show and some Chinese singing. The noodle boy was able to make more than eight thousand strands of noodles with just his hands in less than three minutes. Then the Chinese singers came out. Chinese singing is quite different from western music. All the men singing were making high pitched and startling noises out of their mouths, which in the beginning surprised us but I think we eventually liked it a little bit. After dinner, we took a short bus ride during which we did our squeeze question and props. We went to our last hotel in Tai Yuan, which wasn’t as nice as the continental hotel but still had beds softer than the ones in the Beijing apartment. After an exhausting day, it wasn’t very hard to fall asleep.