I do volunteer work at a dinosaur museum in my hometown and when the opportunity came up to go to China on a Paleo Tour with the museum, I took it.
My friend and I flew into Beijing early for the usual tourist sightseeing. Our China contact for Sinofossa Tours met us at the airport and took us to the Beijing Xinjiang Hotel in the Hadian District. We joined our host for dinner and found that you do not order separately on the menu. All meals come in large quantities and are served on a huge lazy susan for all to share. Food was interesting and good from tofu with an orange sauce and green onions to beef strips marinated with vegetables and sliced lotus root sautéed in olive oil.
In the following days we visited The Great Wall at Mutianyu, The Forbidden City, The Bell and Drum Towers, Tiananmen Square, The Birdsnest and the hutongs which are ancient, twisting alleyways of neighborhoods that show the real life and culture of Beijing. In all my travels, I have never been to a country with such friendly people.
We hooked up with our tour group and found there were 10 of us. We visited amazing museums including a behind the scenes look at the fossil research lab.
Flew to Xian for a visit to the Ban Po Archaeological Museum and the Terra Cotta Army site. Had time to walk through the parks and take part in Tai Chi with the locals. A quick visit to The Wild Goose Pagoda and we were on our next flight to Lanzhou.
Lanzhou is the most polluted city in China but it was also our base to work with Sinofossa on a dig. How cool is that? Digging dinosaurs in China!! During our 4 days of digging we found a sauropod trackway, theropod tracks and various bones. We also spent a few days visiting remote and interesting paleontology museums.
Our trip ended back in Beijing with a visit to the Summer Palace and of course, time for shopping.
Sinofossa leads geotours and is dedicated to the understanding of the past and sharing knowledge of China, both online and in the field. They highlight China's cultural, historical, and geological wonders, and integrate these wonders into geotours. Their website is www.sinofossa.org