Monday, May 11, 2009

The Great Wall of China

Sunday:My room was brighter than usual this morning and my alarm had not yet gone off. I grabbed my phone to check the time and see why the alarm didn’t go off only to realize my phone had died! I ran out of the room in a panic, thinking I had over slept and that I might have missed valuable time at the wall. I went to go look at the clock and saw Lily – a sign that it was before 7:30am, because that is when she leaves for classes on Sunday. I was so relieved to find out I still had an hour to get ready for the day haha. Lily left for class and I ate breakfast and waited for Teresa to come. She ran the buzzer and I answered the phone in Chinese…. It totally threw her off and she was really confused haha, I hadn’t told her I knew any Chinese. I headed downstairs and out the door, we had a driver today and he had the longest fingernails!

It took about an hour to get to the Great Wall of China. The mountains formed, and then there she was, beautiful, huge, and picturesque. We drove around until we got to the Badaling section of the wall. Teresa and I got out and made our way to the entrance of the wall, I was speechless. You can see pictures, you can hear about the wall, but being there in person is something totally indescribable! Excitement filled me with each step closer to the wall; I decided to go up the left side first. We started the climb and it was not easy, the steps are not straight, the paths are not even, but the view…. The view is just wow haha…. And the thought about the whole wall being built without machines is crazy! To think men in heavy armor rode horses up and down this wall. How with blood, sweat and a few tears I’m sure ;) they carried cannons, ammunition, food, and more, up these stairs and these walls. Just imagine how difficult it would be to climb any of these mountains to begin with, and then add the difficulties of building a giant wall on it! Ok thank you for being patient through my musings haha I am done for now.

I walked the entire Badaling section open to tourists. The left side was tough but fun and I was ready to conquer the rest of the section. The wall isn’t connected in tiny circles so if you go in one direction to get back and go the other way you have to turn around and walk all the way back. Coming back towards the right side I was taking a video of the wall and some very good looking Australian college boys asked if I wanted them to take my picture for me, they promised not to run off with my camera haha. Hmmm how could I resist haha! I know which country I am visiting next!

Some parts of the wall you literally had to hold on with both hands just so you don’t fall. Some of the steps were up 90 degrees; some hills literally should have been slides. I was tempted to sit on my butt and go down a couple of them but I had seen a few kids peeing so I passed on that one haaha. Even on the Great Wall I had people asking to take their picture with me or sneaking shots. Teresa found this quiet amusing, I took a few shots with people and other times just said no haha. In the end I don’t know how many miles we walked, I think somewhere around 10 miles, but not positive. I was sore, burnt, and exhausted! Teresa said she has been to the wall over a hundred times and this was only her second time doing the whole Badaling section! It took as about 4 or 5 hours total, so not too bad but we were beat!

Next was the Ming Tombs… we went down the long pathway with the stone animals, creatures, and soldiers. It was so beautiful, right as I took my third picture at the tombs my camera died! I guess taking over 450 pictures at the wall and about 4 videos was too much for my camera to handle. I was tired and not feeling well so I did a quick run through of the tomb. It was so interesting how this was the only tomb allowed to be opened, and how much time and effort is put into building these tombs. It was five or six stories underground and had walls and floors of marble. The only tomb to be excavated is the Wanli Emperor’s; it’s called the Ding Ling Tomb, or the Tomb of Stability. By excavating the tomb it revealed not only an intact tomb with the bodies of the emperor and his two empresses along with silk, and other expensive items but it filled a gap in the minds of scientists and scholars about what the tombs contained. After a quick tour we headed back to Lily’s house where I was going to pack my things for my flight tomorrow. Teresa and her roommate, Cindy, were picking me up around 7 to take me out to dinner.

We got back and I showered and started packing. I couldn’t find some of my clothes. Lily’s i-ee has been going through my bags and taking out laundry and washing it… some of which I hadn’t worn yet. I told her I was going home on Monday and would do my laundry then and not to take it but she kept taking it. This frustrated me a bit; I have a big bubble as most of you know, and this definitely burst it. What took me to complete humiliation was when I came home later that night and found a pair of my underwear hanging in the window with some of my other clothes!!! I was mortified haha, not only had she gone through my bags AGAIN, but she had taken out clothes, some of which were clean, and washed and hung them in the window!!! AFTER I told her not to hahahaha! Oh my goodness, I laugh at it now but I was just speechless, I guess she was just trying to be a good i-ee? Oh well, part of the whole experience I guess haha.

Well Teresa and Cindy picked me up and we went for Peking Duck. It was very good, some of the side dishes I didn’t ask what they were and am a little nervous to know what they were. One of the dishes was soup and in my bowl was the ducks neck and what appeared to be some organs. It was an experience, another thing to add to the crazy food list haha.

I have a flight tomorrow morning which should be interesting. Coming here my driver showed me where to go and helped me check in. I am taking a taxi there and will have to figure the rest out on my own. I have enjoyed my stay with Lily, I wish I had more time to get to know her but I’m sure we will meet again sometime.



  1. I am speechless! You had told me some of this in our conversations but when you write it all down, it takes on a new dimension. WHat a gift you have Chelsea!!!

  2. Your trip to the Great Wall sounds amazing :) Oh and I'm going to go with you to Australia lol