Saturday, September 10, 2011

Playing tourist for the day

Sean and I on the Great Wall

(Remember to click on the pictures to make them larger!)
Finally, a day that didn't have to do with the race. But still more time on a shuttle. Another very exhausting day, but truly exciting!

Today was about touring Beijing! Living in a touristy area, i today....was the Tourist! (or as we say in DCL - Touron). First stop, after an adventure bus ride (as they always are) - THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA /Mutianyu Section.

Only a small part of the Great Wall

One of the 7 Wonders of the World! What a true amazing experience that I am so glad I did not miss out on experiencing! We had the most unbelievable weather for it too! Our Tour Guide - one of the best. He was absolutely wonderful. On the adventurist bus ride there, he taught us how to read some of the Chinese characters and how they come up with them. That was really interesting. Would be fun to take a class on it. We also learned how to count to 10 in Chinese (Although I may not do to well on a test anymore as I have forgotten many of them.)

For the first time, as we drive to the wall, we got to see villages of Beijing and how they live. It was truly a sight, nothing like our American way.

The first rest stop

As we arrived and walked up to the admission gate we got hit with street vendors in our face. $1 dollar tshirts, come here, souvenirs, you come here and buy.

Many ways to get up to the wall to explore. We choose the Chair lift up and the tobaggan ride down. FUN!

Chair lift up

See the wall in the lower right hand side? 

This part of the wall is unused and overgrown.

Once up, we explored part of the Mutianyu Section of the wall. WOW ... if you think you wouldn't enjoy a day on the wall ... you would be mistaken and convinced when you got on it. What an amazing thing. Actually, and some of you will laugh, for the first time I am speechless! I don't know how to explain it. i have sooo many pics, I did the best i can to pick out a few for you. But words and pictures just don't give it justice. You just have to see it for yourself!

Steep stairs down

Cool shadow picture

When you come to the Great Wall, bring good shoes!

The toboggan ride down was fun!

Me sitting in a window, hoping I don't fall out!

Before getting back on the bus, I did a little shopping. And learned how to bargain with the vendors. That was such a hoot. You have to be tough to get the price you want, but when they see you walk away if they don't accept your price they are quick to say "OK, OK, your price." I could write a short story on this experience, but I will spare you. Lets just say they were able to pick out quick who the American Suckers were ... LOL ... Sean :). Good thing I was there or he would have been paying way too much for some things.

Some of the locals in costume

Next stop, after a fun toboggan ride down the mountain ... lunch at a true local restaurant (not like our hotel restaurants.) (editor's note: In China they say they eat everything with four legs except the table, and everything with two legs except the man.) I was a bit afraid we might see fried scorpion and donkey meat, but it was great. Wonderful Chinese food! And a lot! It was great to talk more with and meet even more teammates. I have made many friends here.

Next stop, The Ming Tombs. This was a short tour. Not a lot to view. Which was good, as my legs were tired and I was looking forward to relaxing back at the hotel at this point. It was great to see and more so to learn about. Learning from our tour guide before going to see it made it much more spectacular. The Emperors of China would build their tombs when young. Long story about the Ming Tombs so I will let you read about it if you are more interested. But quite amazing.

Ming Tomb

Empress crown

So that was my Friday. Was so great to get the mind off the race for a bit.

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