Saturday, 22 June 2013

Day 119: Around Beijing - Sat 22 Jun, 2013

Day 119: Around Beijing - Sat 22 Jun, 2013

Pictorial plan of the Summer Palace. 1888

This morning Qsisi took us to the Summer Palace on Kunming Lake. The rain didn't really dampen our spirits, but certainly killed any interest in dragon boat rides.


Enjoyed musical interlude on traditional Chinese instruments in pavilion beside lake.


After lunch we were driven 70kms north to Badaling to climb a section of the Great Wall, built during the Ming Dynasty to defend against the intrusion of the Mongolians. China’s stone dragon winds across deserts, grasslands, mountains and plateaus, stretching over 21,000kms from east to west. It was built in sections through 2000 years, by over 1 million people - soldiers, peasants, prisoners, thousands of whom died in the process.

Fresh, and ready to start our climb

We were met at the bottom by a sign quoting Chairman Mao: "you're not a hero if you can't climb the wall" - pleased to say we were all heroes, and young Harry and May got medals at the top to prove it! Given there were so many steep steps, uneven and hand hewn, some you had to haul yourself up and over, some narrow and almost straight up like a ladder – we oldies certainly thought it a great accomplishment!!

May and Harry are often asked to pose with locals

As usual, youth do it with ease....

Winners are grinners!!

 Side note: our travellers are planning a farewell dinner the night before we cross from China to Mongolia – under the stars we will decorate joint tables, wear a Chinese "something", bring a shared meal, hold an awards night (each has another's name out of hat), BYO drinks etc. In a stall half way up Great Wall steps we found the perfect "pink cap award" for Mads, who last month lost her prized one (from celebrity dog show). Although pink, this one has a dragon logo so we will have to say "in lieu of her new best friend the Tibetan mastiff". 

On return to the city there was no chance to stop at hotel and change, went straight on to Chaoyang Theatre acrobatic show – such very clever artistes, especially so many people on one bicycle, and the breathtaking finale with 6-7 motor bikes dodging each other racing inside a spinning metal globe. Ended up back in sister Kerrie's unit playing UNO with kids, whilst enjoying no-fuss room service…

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