Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Great Wall of China! and other tales of the day...

Yesterday was a LONG, but fun-filled day of memories for Colin and me.

We began at 7:45 (yes, a.m.) and headed out with two other families to see the
Great Wall!

It was not that far away,
but with Beijing traffic
it was a 2 hour journey.

Here are some of our van-mates!

After reaching the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall,
we climbed up
 a short distance to the chair lift.

Colin and I shared a lift chair.
It did not go unnoticed that he
barely spoke the entire
5 minute ride to the top,
nor did his ever so tightly clamped
 hands EVER move from the safety bar! 
 I think our "big boy" was a little nervous about being that
high in the air. 
Of course, you'll never
hear that from him!

It was an absolutely grogeous
and cold day!
Look at this view!

Finally at the top and waiting
for the rest of our group
to join us off the lift.

After we all made it off the lift,
we were given the options of going
 left (to the flatter, easier side) or
Right (to the steeper climb with a
view of the old unrepaired
section of the wall). 
Of course, my much younger
colleagues chose the
steeper path
 so off up we went...

They lure you in with a nice easy decent...

the climb begins.

Colin and me at the top...ok,
the top of the first section.

Colin enjoyed having the camera
 and taking pictures as he climbed.

this would be the shot of the final climb. 
It is a miracle that this
photo was even taken! 
Each time we reached the
landing of a set of stairs,
thinking that we were there,
we walked through and saw..
you guessed it...
another set of stairs-
steeper than the last!

This picture (that Colin took)
does not do justice to how
steep this section was.
Yes, that is me on the left
using my hands to go one
step at a time while my nimble son
 practically ran up the same steps.

I heard more than one time
from a fellow climber...
"You've got to be KIDDING!" LOL

To my credit, there were a
few folks who decided not
to finish this climb.
(not that the thought didn't
cross my mind, too, but I persevered!)

Here we are at the very top
of this end of the Wall. 
Behind this sign was a trail
 that was not recommended
for climbers-
thus the "No admittance" sign.

We then began the descent. 
This was tough on the knees
as it was steep and in some cases,
covered with snow. 
Thankfully there was a railing along
portions of the climb which helped.

Once we all gathered together
again, we each took a toboggan
down the mountain!

That's Angela from Ladybugs & Love on the left in the brown coat!

It was a lot of fun.
We were not allowed to
have cameras out on
the way down, so I took a
 photo of the track. 
For those who might be
 planning a trip here soon,
there is an additional fee
for this but it was great fun,
even for the old folks!

Once we left the Great Wall,
we enjoyed an outstanding
lunch here...

By far the best food that
I have had in China (on either trip).

Angela ordered all the items and we shared each.  They were exceptional!

Angela showing us how to wrap Peking Duck. DELICIOUS!!

This "structure" was called
Chinese French Fries. (by Angela)
Our group thought it looked
more like a bale of hay!
  Either way, it was surprisingly yummy. 
Very light and covered with
 a light coating of honey.

After lunch, our plan was to go to Temple of Heaven.  However, the two hour trip back, that actually took FOUR painful hours, took care of those plans, so we went with Plan B.  Angela took us for a ride through the older part of Beijing where the officials lived outside the walls of the Forbidden City. (An additional TWO hours - yes, that makes 6 so get there.) We saw one of the Feng Shui homes that was built there.
We rode Rickshaws and saw the Pub Street district along the lake.  It was very pretty at night, but did I mention it was FREEZING?

Last, but not least, we drove to the "Red Theater" for the Kung Fu Show entitled, "Chun Yi: The Legend of Kung Fu".  We were not allowed to take pictures, but if you want, you can read all about it here.

It was pretty impressive even though there were times I could barely keep my eyes open.  When we left, we all voted to skip dinner entirely and head back to the hotel.

I skyped with Tom briefly and even he thought I looked absolutely exhausted so we went straight to bed.  It was our first full night of sleep.  We rose at 7 and we were both surprised at the time!

All in all a very memorable day, but oh so tiring!

Today (Saturday), we spent a very relaxing morning in the hotel (creating this post) and then ventured out for lunch at Subway

and a nice walk in the brisk winter air to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.

On the way there, a young woman stopped us and asked if I would pose for a picture with her mother.  I have learned that this is quite common, although it happened to our son Tommy much more often than with me. (Of course, he is fair and blond, which is even more rare in China than my coloring.) 

It was really nice walking around the town with Colin watching him see all of these historical things for the first time.  Adopting him at an older age, we missed so many of his firsts.  I miss not having baby pictures and all of those milestones that we treasure from our children. But, his first trip to Beijing, China?  That was with me.  I am grateful for this special time with him before we get Cameron.  Once again, the Lord knew in advance what it would mean to leave a little early.  It afforded me this beautiful day with my oldest boy.  God Bless.


Tim said...

Thanks for this post but especially the part - his first trip to Beijing was with me.

That settles it for me and our son to be.

Chelsea Gour said...

Excellent post! I recognize so many places in the pictures and that is neat! Loved our roast duck meal when we were there too. Sounds so fun!

kimjax said...

Great pics, Angie. I'm having so much fun "traveling with you!"

Rebecca said...

Loved reading this! We'll be staying in Guangdong province the entire time we're in China so we won't get to see Beijing. Loved all of your pictures and that you got some special time with your oldest "baby."

Hope the rest of your trip goes just as well!

Carmi said...

Hope you all are able to get some rest tonight. This was a great post. Glad you are able to have these "firsts" with Colin.

Justine said...

Loved the whole post, but that part about the "firsts," that got to me. Beautiful.

Jennifer said...

Loved seeing the sights! :) Can't wait till we go!!! I'm so excited for you and Colin! Praying for just the PERFECT CA date!

Sharon said...

Love the photos! Sounds like you are having a great time! :)

Joy said...

I just found your blog. This post makes me want to go back! We have five children from China (4 trips total) and we only went to Beijing the first trip. I've always wanted to ride that slide. :-) Have a wonderful time in China. I look forward to reading about your trip.