Monday, July 20, 2009

Update from China #2

I turned 42 on the Great Wall of China today. And brave. I was brave. At this particular tourist place along the wall, you take the ski lift to the top. The ski lift suspends you high up in the air. I have a (irrational, yet very real) fear of heights. Collin and Alissa, you would have been SO impressed!

Here are some facts that we were told: The Great Wall was begun as much as 5,000 years BC. Most of it was completed 200 years before Jesus walked the roads of Israel! That's my favorite thought ... that I was walking on a stone wall that was there when Jesus was here. Totally amazing! The wall is about 5000 miles long, including the extra little bits that jut off the main wall.
And guess how you get down from the top? Besides the walking option. Well, and besides the going back down the ski lift option. Right! A tabogon sled! Each person gets their own plastic sled thing, complete with brake, and you go down on a metal slide. Going down once wasn't quite enough. It made you want to go again, only faster! Here is a picture of my mom finishing the slide down the hill. I wish I could crop and enlarge it for you ... you should see the look on her face. She was laughing and having so much fun.
There were vendors at the bottom of the hill. The kind of vendors that you have to barter with. They were SO aggressive! We did end up buying a few things ... but none of us liked it at all. We'll take higher prices with set price tags any day! The dried fruit was so pretty how they had it displayed ... but we didn't buy any. We don't eat anything that isn't well cooked or comes from a can.
The drive to the wall took about 2.5 hours. The drive home took FOREVER! The bus driver got lost and ended up going right through Beijing instead of on the freeway. By the time we arrived back at Shepherd's Village I had migraine number two! Sigh. Feeling much better already though.
And notice the last picture ... taken from in the bus as we drove along. See how we are on the wrong side of the road? Passing. And see the oncoming truck? How close it is? And imagine your bus driver honking and honking to get people out of his way. And the oncoming truck sortof, finally, reluctantly moving over so we didn't collide. That's how the driving works ... it's just normal. We learned pretty quickly just to laugh and maybe not watch. Our theme is: "Remain Calm" and it's coming in quite handy.
Tomorrow we will be in Beijing all day. I think we are going to the China Palace and then to an acrobat show in the evening. Our tour guide is named Shelby and she'll be translating for us and ordering dinner etc.

P.S. Thank you to Collin who is doing my blogging for me!

1 comment:

marie said...

I love the pictures! thank you thank you! Did you realize that in the first one, you three girls all match? Such Cuteness! Love the pic of Gramma Judy riding the sled-thing. Can't wait to show ADOO. So great to see what you're all doing. Hugs.