I ate too much again at the buffet-style breakfast. We English 8 met in the main lobby at 8:30 a.m., then traveled an hour or so by mini tour bus to the mysterious Great Wall.
Some facts about the Wall:
- Sticky rice soup and mortar were used to glue the bricks together
- Started -200 BC
- Has been worked for over 2,000 years
- Still has bullet holes from last battle
- Needs expensive maintenance due to time and tourism
What a happening place. Tour buses clogged available parking space. Small shops galore offered touristy goods for sale, from postcards to fridge magnets, hot tea, cold drinks and all sorts of knick knacks. One, a department store type business, carried everything you might imagine. Would you pay $39 for a T-shirt or $25 for a kid-sized one? Would you pay six or seven dollars for a two-inch square fridge magnet? They also carried silk, jade, pearls, life-size Terracotta warrior replicas and furniture. Prices included shipping. For the life of me, I couldn’t sort out the prices aside from the shipping costs out of curiosity.
We left the tourist traps behind and headed up-hill to the entrance of the Great Wall. We saved shopping time for later. The walk was steep. People from all over the world rubbed elbows. A light drizzle began. Sue and I escaped inside a battlement. Inside and out we meandered. Hordes and throngs of people stared at us everywhere. Our English Group 8 wandered off in different directions with a specified time to meet at the large department store.
Carolyn lost her camera on the Great Wall. She’d taken off her coat due to overheating and left it on a ledge and walked away. Ten minutes later, she realized it was missing. Dreading it would be gone, she and her husband retraced their steps anyway. Had it been me, I would have cracked under the stress and gone into shock. Forget going back to be disappointed.
When Robert heard the story, he insisted on checking if the camera had been turned in. What were the chances of such luck? He knew who to ask and was informed an announcement had been made over the Great Wall loud speakers about ten times regarding the camera. A security guard had picked it up and turned it in. Each of us rejoiced as if it had been our own camera. Carolyn glowed.
Beijing driving and cars:
- Rush hour is all day long, not at any specified times
- Driving restrictions by last two digits of licence number / odd vs even
- Penalty for ignoring, sometimes 100 points
- Drivers have 12 points per year
- If you lose your points for the year, you must redo licence.
- If caught driving drunk, or even after 1 glass of wine or beer, can lose licence forever
- 3 million more cars since the Olympics
- Cost of a car (i.e. Hundai), $10,000 each, manufactured in China
- An Elantra in 2005, cost $25,000 U.S.D.
- Lots of new models now because more citizen able to afford cars
- They like German models
- Gasoline 7.8 Yuan / litre, about $1.30
Next on July 4th, Beijing, Day 4, Part 2: Ming Tombs
For all related posts, click on China Tab at the top of the page.