Friday, January 6, 2012

The Great Wall of China - Marked.

The whole second day of touring, Charles, our tour guide, kept going over our itinerary, and whenever he mentioned seeing the Great Wall of China, he would say, "And then, your dreams will finally come true - you will see the Great Wall." He said that, like, five times. It was really cute.

We were going to go to a popular section of the wall, called Badaling, but then our bus driver told Charles that there was horrible, horrible traffic on the freeway. Charles was worried that we wouldn't get to the Great Wall until nightfall, and he wanted us to be able to see it in daylight. So he got permission from his boss to take us to a different section of the wall, a little more toward the east of the Badaling section. I guess it usually costs more to get in to this part, for some reason. But they didn't charge us extra, which is nice.

It still took us a good two hours to get to this section, I'd say. Lots of winding roads. Sadie, Dylan, and I all got carsick and had to move to the front of the bus. We were glad to finally get there.

So, after you get off the bus, you walk up this little path to get to the chairlift that takes you up to the wall. The path was packed with vendors selling their wares:

It was the most fun atmosphere. For reals. And I wanted to do some shopping, but our time was so limited, so we were forced to kind of march past everyone. One guy was like, "Pretty American lady! Buy t-shirts! Only one dollar each!!" T-shirts for only one dollar??? A good deal, but for reals, we had to get the heck up that mountain.

There's this little area where you wait in line for the chairlift - Ben took some pics of the kids. These pics crack me up:

Micah was in a FABULOUS mood. :) The Pakistani guys were laughing at him so hard. I loved those guys. They were so funny.

Here is little Sades:

And me, riding in the chairlift!:

I was FLIPPING out. And I don't know why. Chairlifts are very, very familiar to me. I'm trying to figure out why I was so nervous. Was it because I had two kids with me? It was my first time riding on one with my kids. And I was scared of them falling. Was it higher than other chairlifts? Was it because there wasn't this nice, powdery snow you could fall into if you slipped??? No idea. I just couldn't wait to get off.

I adored our time on the wall. It was just amazing.

More Micah Fun:

I think he had HAD it with pictures. Three months of constant picture-taking by strangers had done him in.

Dylan was holding his panda stuffed animal in his black bag. He loooooves that thing.

Look at how tiltey the stairs are - it's not easy walking along:

Micah and I are in there, toward the left:

Can you see the wall snaking up the mountain and then, at the top, going to the right? I'm amazed at how much work and time and struggle it must have been to build this thing:

So, there are little stations on the wall, not too far apart. I think Charles told us that they were an arrow's shot away from each other. So there were guards at each little station. Some of them are dilapidated:

Some of them were bigger than others:

I love this picture Ben took. I don't know much about photography, but to me, this picture might have good "composition"? You'll have to tell me if I'm right, Megs:

Mike and me:

So. Funny story about Mike. He decided he had to pee. Of course. So, there are all of these little holes near the walkway that would help drain water when it rained, right? I had no choice. I had to help Mikey pee through one of the holes. Several Chinese people stopped and stared. When we finished up, one guy says, in muddled English, "Good job!" It was hilarious. So now Micah can always say that he once peed off the Great Wall of China.

I so wanted this picture to turn out better so we could send it in our Christmas cards, but Gage wouldn't turn around and face the camera, dang it:

Gage had HAD it:

Two days straight stuck in a backpack - I don't blame him.

Another amazing photograph by Ben:

Isn't it gorgeous? This is with no photoshopping or touchups. Not kidding. The view was breathtaking.

Such tiltey stairs:

More Micah Fun:

Some more Chinese paparazzi:

Ah, here we are inside of one of those station thingeys:

And here are Ben, Dylan, and Gage on the way down the mountain:

This is a sad part of the story. Charles was like, "If you don't meet at the bus at 4:20, we will leave without you." And Ben and I didn't keep good track of time. All of the sudden, it was 4:10, and we were like, crap!!! We have to get down there!! You can ride an alpine slide down the mountain to that little path and parking lot, which would have been so much fun. Sadie had so been looking forward to riding the alpine slide. She couldn't care less that we were standing on one of the wonders of the world. Nope. She wanted to ride that alpine slide. We could see people sliding as we rode up in the chairlift.

However, the line to slide was really, really long, and there is no way we would have made it to the bus in time if we had ridden it down. So we had to ride the chairlift down. Sadie was heartbroken. She seriously cried for like an hour. I promised her that, this next summer, we'll go over to Jackson and ride the alpine slide. Poor girl. Life is hard when you're six. :)

It took another two hours to get back into Beijing. We were supposed to visit a silk-painting factory and the Bird's Nest Olympic Stadium thingey, but our time was up. I wasn't heartbroken. Ben had seen the Bird's Nest a couple of weeks before and said it was already crumbling and in disrepair. Which is sad.

So that was that for our touring in Beijing! I seriously had so much fun. I'm convinced that, for a somewhat-finicky American woman, it's better to TOUR in China than to LIVE in China. :) We had such interesting adventures, but boy, are we glad to be home.


spoonTRex said...

That picture of the wall has GREAT composition!! I love it! And the one of the mountains, GORGEOUS!! It totally looks Photoshopped! Awesome job Ben!

That is so cool that you guys got to visit the great wall! I don't envy you living there at all, but I agree, being a tourist would be a good idea for me!:)

Anonymous said...

Oops, that was me:)

Emily Empey said...

thats a fun post!! i love these updates

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