These posts are about to be truncated. I can't handle the internet connection.
The next stop included a tour of Old Beijing by Rickshaw. Our Rickshaw driver and tour guide were very sweet. The tour guide taught us a little bit of Chinese. He also made us practice, but I don't remember much of it. We had lunch prepared by a local. It was delicious! We saw the outside of a courtyard house. There are only 100 courtyard houses left in Beijing and they are all own by the government. We couldn't go inside the courtyard house, but I was able to capture a picture of the doorway. Here is the description from my notes that describe the doorway:
# of stars indicates rank
12 is for emperors
8 prince and prime minister
4 is pretty good
Drums on stones are for military
High step to keep water and snakes out also to indicate status keep evil spirits out
Lions are religious, holy animals
The elders lived on the south side and living/family rooms were on the north side. Boys lived on the east side of a courtyard house and girls on the west side. The sun rises on the east and sets on the west. Rising on the east signifies hope, importance and all good things. Boys were more important than girls.
In China, the Chinese government owns the land. A home owner owns the house, but not the land is it on. A farmer rents the land from the government. If a person finds gold or oil in the land, they have to turn it over to the government. The land is very expensive. If a young person, say early twenties, wants to buy a house, our tour guide called it "mission impossible.
A girl in China has many options when it comes to finding a mate. There are three million guys for every girl in Beijing (I'm pretty sure that's the stat he gave us, but I might be off a little). Our tour guide, who is a younger male, lives in a room with 4 other guys. They sleep in bunk beds, and they do not have a toilet or shower. Most people in Old Beijing do not have a toilet or shower, and they use public restrooms. The tour guide said Americans make five times more than the average Chinese but their economy is built for our higher incomes. He said if he continues on the rate of which he is on now, a hundred years from now is when he'll be able to buy a house. "Mission Impossible" indeed. He was almost envious of us being engineers, and having a bright future.
Last stop was the Lama Buddha temples. Again, we couldn't take pictures inside the temples. I snagged a picture of the largest Buddha in the Guinness Book of Records.