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Flowers adorning the entrance to the apartment buildings.

On October 1st every year China celebrates the birth of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. Everyone enjoys a week-long holiday. Maggie and Molly will take a plane from Hohhot to Beijing where I will pick them up. We’ve graciously been given a home in Beijing to stay in while the owners travel to other places for the holiday. We are taking care of some fish and a cat.

National Holiday must be a big deal! About a week ago I noticed that all the street corners were lined with flowers. No, they are completely filled with potted red and yellow flowers so that you have to walk in the street several yards to get to the corner. It is beautiful.

The tall apartment buildings are usually in a block with a mutual parking lot and a gated entrance. There are four buildings in our “block” with six entrances apiece, each entrance with 28 floors (and two basement floors which I’ve been too cautious to go explore), each floor with six apartments. Throughout this week all the apartment entrances and the courtyards inside them have been decorated with elaborate potted flower arrangements.

Flowers line the driveway into the apartments.

At the preschool today, the children are reciting some poems and songs for the parents. The staff has been busy decorating the lobby with balloons, red carpet, and flags. Later, all the teachers are going to their respective home towns to spend the week with their families.

Decorating the preschool for the program.

We look forward to being tourists for the week. Our lodging is in the Embassy District which has many western restaurants and shops and we hope to run into other westerners. Hopefully we will eat some good western food and speak English with other people. But, we also plan to take in some strictly Chinese sights (although we will save the big tourist attractions for another week when there are less visitors in Beijing) and we’ll report back to you our adventures throughout the week and the experience of celebrating National Holiday.