Monday, January 21, 2008

The Great Wall is indeed great, but the Summer Palace is not summery.

The Great Wall lived up to the hype; it was absolutely incredible, breathtaking, awe inspiring.

We went to the Ba Da Ling section of the Wall, which is usually quite crowded, but our tour guide Nicole told us it wouldn't be so bad in January. She gave us the choice of the steeper but less crowded side, or the easier but more crowded side, and we opted for less crowded, and had almost the entire side of the wall to ourselves most of the time--there was just one or two other parties that we saw on the way up.

It was snowing lightly, and at times was quite slippery, but nobody fell, and it made for quite a special experience.

I took a few videos here:

And here:

Then we were off to lunch at a cloisonne factory (the enamel-coated pottery--I had no idea how labored of a process it was to make them), and then the Summer Palace. At this point, it felt like the temperature had dropped ten degrees, probably because of the wind coming off of the frozen lake. Because of this, we couldn't enjoy the grounds as much as we might have--we kept having to dip into the souvenir shops for warmth.

Dinner was a Lao Beijing Zha Jiang Mian Da Wang (Old Beijing Noodle King)--we had asked Nicole to take us to a light dinner, and she suggested special Beijing noodles--homemade noodles that are mixed with a variety of veggies, beans, etc with a special sauce that had small pieces of meat. It was delicious, perfect, an energizing atmosphere, and best of all, CHEAP.

And then it was on to a Kung Fu Show where Eveline joined us. "The Legend of Kung Fu" at the Red Theater. A cross between modern dance, cirque do soleil, and kung fu, it was quite well-done and entertaining, although also startling--most of the speaking was in English, with Chinese subtitles above the stage. But, I guess that's how you cater to the tourist market. I was so tired at that point, though, that I couldn't help nodding off--I have a bad habit of falling asleep in movies, shows, etc--I used to think I was a bit narcoleptic. Who knows.

Today we're heading to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, and shopping.I'm hoping to get on Grace's computer at some point to add photos to all of my posts--she's been busy blogging away herself--but she's still blogging about Shanghai! I wonder if that's odd for you guys who read both of our blogs. What's odd for us is that blogspot is blocked right now in China--for some reason, we can post, but we can't view the blogs--so I can't even see what Grace has posted about the trip! But I guess that will make it a treat to read and revisit the vacation when I get back to the States.


Susan Sandmore said...

How cool! Thanks for sharing. I don't suppose they let you sled down!

Elaine Magliaro said...


Thanks for taking us along on your travels. I enjoyed watching the videos. I visited the Great Wall in autumn. We didn't have any snow. I'm sorry that we never got to see the Summer Palace.

Rita said...

Oh, man, those videos are hilarious. I've been to Ba Da Ling. Climbing it in the snow looks awesome!