It's been a while since my last post because blogspot is blocked in China. So are Facebook and Twitter, btw. Mark and Micah have already posted about the week in China. I'll be helping Jonah post as soon as we can.
We are really enjoying some amazing hospitality in Dubai with Mark's friend Justin, his family, and their household staff. Our laundry was washed, dried, ironed, and folded for us the first day. So amazing!
Anyway, we really had some amazing experiences in China. The first two days we were in Shanghai, then two days in Kaifeng, then three days in Beijing. The Bessler Baum family were with us the whole way and Joni really took good care of us throughout China. She set us up in a very wonderful boutique hotel just a block and a half from their home in Shanghai, http://www.bestchinahotel.com/hotels-in-shanghai/shanghai-b-la-vii-house-shanghai.html. Then we were at a 5 star hotel in Kaifeng (who'd of thought?), http://www.sinohotel.com/english/hotelinfo/New_Century_Grand_Hotel_Kaifeng.html. Finally, in Beijing, we were at a lovely courtyard style hotel very close to all the tourist attractions, http://bbgh.com.cn/index.html. All wonderful. The history, culture, traditions, etc. are so strong and beautiful in China. And the people just adore our children. And it is so safe. No worries about crime. But of course, no real true freedom either. Judaism is not one of the five state-approved religions, so Jews meet at people's homes and are not really permitted to "practice" our religion. However, the attitude is such a strong one of live and let live that if you are not breaking the law, you can basically do whatever you want. So, services and such still happen and communities still form.
Our two days in Dubai have been pretty relaxing. Yesterday, all we did was visit the Mall of the Emirates, http://www.malloftheemirates.com/moe/Default.aspx, where we had some delicious snacks and played at the indoor arcade/amusement park called Magic Planet. Today we went back there for a movie and some browsing at Borders. Then we went to the heart of the city of Dubai where we took an abra across the "creek" and browsed in the Gold Souk and the Spice Souk.
I will add pictures another time.