The Very Big Wall
Today we awoke to another beautiful, sunny day. We layered-up and prepared for our ‘hike on the Great Wall’ as our CCAI reps called it. A hike, how nice, I thought. We arrived at the section of the wall we would be climbing. We were told we could go right or left. Right would get us to higher elevation quicker. And being my mother’s daughter, I went with the view. Always go with the view. So right, we went. And about five minutes into the ‘hike’ I thought, hmmm, now where is that inhaler I brought with me? Hmmm…back in the hotel room with the rest of the pharmacy of ‘what-if’ medications we lugged half-way across the world. Onward I climbed, stopping to rest and get some water along the way. We met tower after tower, climbing to the top of one. Well worth the effort. And will we feel it tomorrow? Oh, yes, we will be hurting. But oh, the views!
After our ‘hike on the wall’, we toured a copper factory nearby and learned a bit about traditional Chinese copper-work and firing techniques. It was in many ways a tourist trap, but the artistry was pretty amazing and we enjoyed watching a man make paper-cut artwork and even purchased a couple pieces for Lars’ office. We ate lunch at the store/factory, which was more like American Chinese food.
Then I was thrilled by a little addition to the itinerary. Earlier in the day I had asked the CCAI reps if we would be able to participate in a traditional tea ceremony. I wanted to learn more about tea and it’s place in Chinese culture, and I figured it was worth asking. So I was excited when the reps posed the addition of a visit to a local tea house to our itinerary for the day. The group was up for it and it was a beautiful experience. We learned about Oolong tea, Jasmine tea, Puer tea and Lychee black tea. The ceremony was truly an artform and the tea was wonderful. In truth I doubt I will ever be able to make the tea like the tea house lady did, but I did learn which teas were my favorites, what their health benefits are, and at what temperature they should be enjoyed, etc. Very interesting.
We also visited the Olympic ‘Birds Nest’. And then finished the day with an incredible acrobatic show. Talk about sensory over-load! Today was FULL! I feel better acquainted with Chinese culture for-sure, but whoo…we are exhausted. Beijing culture is BIG and fast. BIG buildings, big apartment complexes, big traffic, big malls and hotels. Lots of lights and neon and hustle and bustle. But, honestly amidst the BIG-ness of it all, it feels very safe here in the city center. We have walked to restaurants at night and people are out and enjoying weekend-life, doing their corporate dance/exercises in the parks and enjoying good food.
Beijing is a fascinating place and if/when Liddy asks about it I will have much to tell her. So glad for a culturally FULL day like today.
We ended the day enjoying Chinese hot-pot dinner. More on that later. And now, our bags are packed ready to fly out around noon tomorrow. We are headed to Henan province, to Zhengzhou the capitol city, where we will settle-in to our hotel and prepare the room for Lydia’s arrival. Pray us on, to safe travels and a peaceful day of waiting. It will surely be a long day. One last day without Lydia. Just one.