Silk & Supper
We got back to our hotel room about 2:30, we had 2 hours before we were supposed to meet Joe in the lobby of the hotel to go out again. I had some work I really needed to do for the store, so I logged in to my computer over the Internet and got it done - even on vacation, there are some things I need to do.
During the two hours at the hotel, we were looking out of our window. Just below us there are a lot of old style, dirty and poor looking houses. The houses are so close that the roofs of most of them connect with each other. There are a few areas where you can see the ground, and one of the larger areas there were several people working. It looks like they are building a wall beside one of the buildings, for what... we don't know. On top of one of the houses, there is also a pigeon cage. After a while, we saw a couple dozen pigeons flying around one of the trees. They just flew around and around and around it. Once in a while, they would switch directions or make a slightly larger circle, but usually stayed right around the tree. Later, we saw another batch of pigeons a little further away making a larger circle, but doing the same thing - someone else must have had pigeons to excercise as well. It looks like it may be kind of common for people to raise pigeons here, the Hutong family that we ate lunch at earlier today also had a cage of pigeons.
At 4:30, we made our way back down to the lobby. We thought we were just going out to eat, but Joe had another plan for us. Before dinner, he took us to a silk factory. They showed us how the silk is made from the cocoon to the finished project. There are two types of cocoons, a single and a double. The double has two worms in it, while the single only has one. With the single cocoons, they can find the end of the string of silk, so after boiling it, they can pull the string off and make it in to silk thread. They use this to make all types of silk items, such as clothes and rugs.
The double cocoons is what I found very interesting. Since they can not find the end of the thread on these, after boiling it, they stretch the cocoon over a U-shaped piece of metal. They put 8 cocoons over each other on this piece of metal before transfering these stretched cocoons to a larger U-shaped piece. They do this 10 times making 80 layers of silk cocoons in total. Once they have these 80 layers, four people get hold of the sides and stretch the 1' x 1' (approx) piece of silk in to the size of a quilt. These little 1 inch cocoons have now been stretched to a 6' square or so. They make different sizes of quilts by adding more or less layers of this silk. They say that these quilts work great in summer or winter because of the way that silk breathes. It is also supposed to be really good because it doesn't have any dust in it or anything else that causes allergies. Overall, I thought this silk presentation was very interesting and amazing.
After we got done at the silk factory, we went down the road a little ways to a Thai restaurant. Again here, they brought out several different foods that we could eat from and once again, the longer we sat there, more food kept appearing. So far since we have been in China, I havne't used a fork to eat with yet, it's always been chopsticks. :) We were on a second floor area, but could see down on to the main floor. About half of the time while we were eating, there was entertainment on a stage on the main floor. There were several different performances of different dances and also a musical instrument player (not sure what instrument, some type of flute). The food was great, and it was nice to have the entertainment while we ate.
After dinner, we came back to the hotel for the night. I did a little more work on these pages and then went to bed around 9:30. I knew I had to get rest for tomorrow - we get to see the Great Wall.
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