Today, our first day in Beijing, I want to write about the things that I noticed throughout the day that either took me by surprise or was just different than our culture. The first thing that I noticed about Beijing is that there are a lot of trees throughout the city. I was expecting a city like Minneapolis where there are no trees and everything is covered with asphalt or concrete. I really like that Beijing has a lot of plant life because it makes it feel more like home, maybe more welcoming. The second thing I noticed, while we were in the Forbidden City, was that there is no abundance of children at tourist areas. In America, it seems that if you go to any attraction for tourists that there are a lot of kids with their families. I am not positive of the reason for the lack of children in tourist areas in China, but my inkling is that it has something to do with the single child family. It could also be that we were there during the week and that was the reason for a lack of kids. Thirdly, I wanted to point out was the lack of animals I saw on the street. It seems strange to me not to see people walking their dogs or playing fetch with their dogs in the park. Even in New York City there are dogs everywhere. I did notice that as the day went on I saw more and more dogs (a lot more once dark came), but was still taken aback at the lack of pets. Lastly, the whole people vs. bikes vs. cars thing was hard to get over. It seems to be that bikes rule the road here, but are not afraid to speed up to get in their way. People have no fear when it comes to traffic. I can’t imagine standing in the middle of merging traffic, but I have seen it done a couple of times today. The combination of all of these factors really had me intrigued throughout the day. I am sure that I will get used to these things throughout our stay!!