Sunday, March 15, 2009

Day 2 (Great Wall and Temple of Heaven) Picture Heavy

The intersection outside our hotel. And horses.

Ignore how awful I look in this picture. It's a MySpace shot on the Lift at the Wall.

Andrea and Beth on the Lift in front of us

Andrea took this. Yes, Mom, I let someone else touch my camera.
The Great Wall at Mutianyu

On the Great Wall. Yup, another time I let someone touch my camera. :D

We climbed that. OMG, it was crazy steep.


Talking to the fish...

At the Temple of Heaven, some of the intricate painting...

A group of kids at the Temple of Heaven

The Temple of Heaven

I like this picture...I just do.

Temple of Heaven

I thought it was funny there is a Taiyuan Gate at the Temple of Heaven. I'm not sure why. But I thought it was cool.

The south gate of the Temple of Heaven, a.k.a. The Exit

So, we went to bed last night about 7 pm (6 AM CST). We fought with the air conditioner to no avail, and at some point during the night, according to Beth's thermometer, it got up to 91* F. Also, we didn't get to meet the Dale Carnegie guy because he had to fly out to Singapore, and therefore cancel on us. We got that call about 9 pm last night. So at some point, Beth got up and opened our window and left it open until it dropped to roughly 67*.

I slept through all of this. I slept from roughly 7 pm to 6 am. Soundly. Never heard a thing.

But, we got up at 6 am and got ready to go on today's adventures. The weather here is decidedly less cold than anticipated. It starts out cool, but ends up being like 60-70* by noon. So we layered up.

Breakfast was good. I have a new breakfast item I believe I will be making. "Fried" rice (it just looked like small grain sticky rice to me) with scrambled egg in it. I like it much better than just egg. I ate a good amount of it. And the "orange juice" is more like Tang. But good. And they have SOY MILK here on the breakfast bar! No where in the USA has soy milk in their breakfast bar, and I love it. It's awesome. I want "soy-o bean milk" at home in hotels. Another interesting thing I noticed was that the turn lanes here extend into the road, you go ahead and pull out to the far edge of the median to turn. I thought that was smart.

We met John, our driver, this morning. If you need a driver around Beijing, who speaks English, I highly recommend him. He drove us out to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. He's also very interested in what we're doing and asked to go with us to the China Care Home in Beijing tomorrow. A very nice man. He has a wife and an 8 year old daughter, whom he seems to love very much.

At Mutianyu, I had my first experience this trip with a squatty potty. Now, I forgot to ask before I left what the secret was, so I was scared to death I'd pee on myself. 2 potty trips later, I've got it figured out and I am quite confident in my ability. :D We took a ski lift up to the top of the mountain with the Great Wall. That was exciting. When you get to the top, you have to hop off and run because the lift does not stop. That was interesting, lol. It was surprisingly calming, being all alone, well, aside from one other person sharing the lift with you, among all those trees, and history, and all. Very serene.

Then, we climbed. And climbed. And climbed. We still didn't go to the end of where we could, but we took the steeper, prettier side. And what a workout it was. Wow. I didn't deserve the plaque I had engraved at Juyuyuan in 2007, when I compare how much I climbed there, to how much I climbed today. And there were some points where it was easier to go back down backwards than to try to go down normally. Very tiring, very steep. And for our way back down to where we started, we took a toboggan, or a slide, as I would call it. That was awesome other than I believe I had a faulty slide-car-thing, it kept wanting to stop if I had to slow down much. I had to get pushed off to go, and a little bit down, a guy had to push me, and at one point, I had to pull myself along the metal slide to get going again. Exciting stuff. It was fun though. Dad would've liked it, I think.

Melanie is apparently a merchant attractant. She got caught by a lady before we went up the Wall, and got caught by her again when we got down, and when we got out of the bathroom. The lady would not take 'no', kept following her, and grabbing her arm. And Melanie wouldn't say no. She tried to get John to help, but the lady just yelled at John and kept messing with Melanie, trying to get her to buy a t-shirt or something. Melanie was like 'I don't to hurt her feelings...', Melanie's pretty sweet like that, but finally, I went up, said 'bu yao' very forcefully, and pulled slightly on Melanie. The lady tried to follow, and I turned and said 'bu yao' (don't want) again, and John and I worked to get Melanie away as quickly as possible. It was odd.

After that, we got food. I wasn't all that hungry, I haven't had much of an appetite, but other than that, I'm feeling fine. There was a little stream out front of the restaurant where people were fishing. Any fish you ordered at this restaurant was fresh, like breathing half an hour ago fresh. There was one guy yelling at the fish, my guess is telling them to die. I don't know that for a fact. Kinda funny though. Something a little traumatic about fish just flopping around. Makes me think of those asthma ads at home that say something along the lines of an asthma attack makes me feel like a fish out of water. Been there, done that. I have all kinds of sympathy for the fish. I don't like fish, trout died for me today. The chicken I had was good, even though I wasn't really hungry. The rice was yummy. I can always eat rice.

After that, we went to the Temple of Heaven, which was something I'd never seen. I mean, I hadn't seen Mutianyu, but I had seen the Great Wall. A different segment, but the Great Wall. I'll have to read a book on it or something when I get home, because we didn't have a guide with us. John waited for us outside. He may have accompanied us, if not for the incident we had.

We're right outside the Temple of Heaven, waiting to turn. Just sitting there. And we get rear ended. We all have this moment of "you're kidding me". The guy behind us just was NOT paying attention. We hadn't even just stopped. We'd been there for a moment. John's Sonata has some minor damage, but he's pretty peeved about it.

But yeah, I'm gonna have to do some research on what we saw.

Then we stopped by a bank. Melanie and Beth went in to exchange some money, and Andrea and I stayed in the car with John, and talked with him. Andrea is an only child like John, and I'm one of 6 like his wife. His wife is from Chongqing. (John was born in '75). After nearly an hour, Beth and Melanie came back. Long line. And we headed back to the hotel with no incidents. I saw the big segment of the old wall that surrounded Beijing at one point on the way back. It's like in the middle of the city.

Now, we're back at the hotel. It's 6:42 pm. None of us are really hungry, so there'll be a 7/11 run in the morning before we go, I'm sure. I have a package of strawberry pocky and part of a pack of M&Ms and a part of a bottle of Coke. I need to take a shower tonight. Then sleep.

Tomorrow, we're going to see the Olympic Village real quick, and then to the China Care Home in Beijing, and then to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square.

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