Everyone was up at 6:00 to check-out and leave for the airport. I got about 5 hours sleep and I think that was the most of anyone in the group. We arrived in Beijing without incident. It was such a relief to get into the Traders Hotel. Unlike the 21st century, which is “pending 4-star approval” (a.k.a. 3-star), Traders truly earns the ranking. The air conditioning works well and everything is spotless. All of use decided to pay the extra $30 per night for the upgraded rooms, which brought the cost / night to roughly 3 times that of the 21st Century but you definitely get what you pay for.
Brian was exhausted and it was nap time for him; the rest of us went shopping at a couple of the markets and I spent the whole day looking for gifts I thought my wife would like. I bargained everything to about 25% the original asking price. I’m not sure if I got the best deals possible, but I definitely paid much, much less than was possible in the US.
Everyone met with Daniel’s better half for dinner. It was quite an experience, with dancing women, martial arts demonstrations, a woman with a snake, and whole-restaurant dance party at the end of the meal. We were dancing on the tables on which we had just eaten but only pictures can do the experience justice. (The music was so loud that my right ear is intensely ringing.) Brian and Doug were both stars of the show, performing dance moves and push-ups on stage during the meal.
After dinner, everyone went to the Hard Rock Cafe. All of the students were ready to go back to the hotel but Professor Lyles suggested we go out after dinner and we weren’t going to let our professor show us up. The four marrieds danced in a circle while Doug scoped the women. We arrived back at the hotel at about 12:30, later than expected but we’ll still be able to get at least 7 hours before heading to the Great Wall and the Forbidden City tomorrow.