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.
A few 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
- Bullet holes from last battle still evident
- 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 USD 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 uphill to the entrance of the Great Wall. We saved shopping time for later. The walk was steep. We rubbed elbows with people from all over the world (figuratively). You don’t dare touch anyone. A light drizzle began and 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 an agreed on time to meet at the large department store halfway down the hill.
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 heartbroken.
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 loudspeakers 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 license 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 license.
- If caught driving drunk, or even after 1 glass of wine or beer, can lose license forever
- 3 million more cars since the Olympics
- Cost of a car (i.e. Hyundai), $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 per liter, about $1.30
Next on February 24th – Beijing, Part 7: Ming Tombs
© 2017 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles
FYI: This is a re-blog of the best parts of my trip in 2014.