How the Cookie Crumbles

Life in the fast and slow lanes after SIXTY-FIVE

Beijing, Part 6: The Great Wall

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word-cloud-7

Image Courtesy of Sally Cronin

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
Some shops

                                                                              A few shops

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.

Approaching the Wall Steps

                                                                Approaching the Wall Steps

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.

Looking ahead

                                                                            Looking ahead

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.

A Steady Climb

                                                                       A Steady Climb

Surrounded

                                                                           Surrounded

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.

http://www.history.com/topics/great-wall-of-china/videos/seven-wonders-the-great-wall

 Higher Now

                                                               Higher Now

At Ground Level Again. Most of these women are over 80, I'm sure, but energetic as 20-year-olds.

At ground level again: most of these women are over 80, I’m sure, but energetic as 20-year-olds.

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
I'm still standing

                                                                      I’m still standing

~ *~

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.

 

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Author: Let's CUT the Crap!

I'm getting a little LONG in the tooth and have things to say about---ouch---AGEing. I believe it's certainly a state of mind but sometimes it's nice to hear that you're NORMAL. I enjoy reading by the truckload. I'm a grandma but I don't feel OLD although I'm not so young anymore. My plan is to stick it out as long as I can on this lovely planet and only will leave it kicking and screaming!

53 thoughts on “Beijing, Part 6: The Great Wall

  1. You didn’t buy a life size terracotta warrior? Why not? Was it only because it was a replica and you wanted the authentic one? LOL. Sounds like it was very interesting and lots of fun, even with the carnival barkers.

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    • The life-size warriors are creepy. I’d scare myself every day if I had it in my house. The woman I went to China with has a neighbor who had had one shipped to her home and she left it on her front porch for a long time. Wouldn’t you feel someone is watching you? :-).

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  2. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    I would normally begin my Saturday morning with a cup of coffee and a tour of China..with Tess Karlinski.. but I have to be out of the house really early and so I am sneaking my usual reblog in now.. the Great Wall of China is visible from space.. what an undertaking and a lot of steps.. Thankfully Tess climbed them for us and I #recommend you head over and enjoy the sights without the tourists.. thanks Tess another great post.

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  3. Excellent Tess. What a tour. I can’t imagine losing and then finding a camera. Must have been a joyous occasion.

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  4. Geez, sticky rice soup and mortar… Did they have cauldrons of soup boiling while they built? Or did they use it cold? How far did you walk, Tess? Great pic, by the way … 🙂 ♥

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  5. Fascinating post, Tess. I somehow imagined the Great Wall to have more of a crumbling appearance after all those years.

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    • I know, right? Sticky rice is good for what ails you and everything else.
      The Great Wall does have crumbling but tourists aren’t allowed and the parts you see in the pictures have been renewed. You can only walk o far as well because there are mountains as barriers etc. ❤ ❤

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  6. And I want to know more about those amazing headdresses the women are wearing. Did you find out where they were from?

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  7. What a very pleasant surprise to find the camera. I am rather like you, I always thinks Oh, for sure, the….is permanently gone.

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  8. That’s amazing how many tourists are there! And sticky rice soup to hold it together–amazing.

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    • We’ve always known the Chinese are imaginative. I thought our guide was pulling our leg about the sticky rice. Nope.
      Not only were there busloads from all over the world, lots of busloads of Chinese people as well. You’d think after all this time the Chinese had all see the wall. 🙂

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  9. Lovely to read this again Tess, and to think she found her camera this time too.
    xxx Gigantic Hugs xxx

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  10. I posit that sticky rice and associated culprits are also responsible for the walls that may lie between our bodies and optimal rice. But then again, was it white or brown rice that built the wall? Nice series, Ms. Tess – enjoying the armchair traveling!

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    • We came across no brown rice while eating in China. Hmm. There’s a thought. I wonder if they only know or prefer the white stuff. Who knew sticky rice was this versatile? o_O
      Glad to have your armchair travel with us. Thanks for coming along. SSM. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Completely fascinating, Tess. Can’t believe the cement used for that wall – amazing!

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  12. What an incredible structure and no wonder it needs constant maintenance with so many visitors. Lovely photos and I’m so glad your friend got her camera back 🙂

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  13. Marvelous, Tess! Loved all the pictures too. But I can’t stop chuckling about the sticky rice soup used with mortar to build the wall. Have a super Saturday. Mega hugs.

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  14. That wall…fascinating, such a great experience for you. The pics are wonderful. And…how I love their stand on drinking/driving…I think it must save lives, we should be paying attention. Thanks, Tess.

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    • Our guide told us there are about 200 vehicular accidents a day. Sober people drive fast. Drunk people drive stupid. I agree, though how strict the law is about drinking and driving.
      Indeed, I don’t believe I’ll get over this trip. Writing about it again brings it all back like new. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Wow! Gas is cheap over there–so are the price of cars.

    I don’t want to go to Beijing but with that stated, I would love to see the Great Wall and walk a bit of it.

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    • You think that’s cheap for gas. That was about what we paid in Canada.
      Visiting this part of history was exciting; the crowds weren’t. Great vistas but I didn’t get carried away over it. Maybe the crowds ruined the experience for me. Maybe the newness spoiled it, as well. 🙂

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  16. How lucky that the camera was found!
    I am sure it must have been quite an aweome experience walking along some of the great wall.

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  17. How can they think of charging such process when things are made so cheaply over there? I wouldn’t have spent a penny! I’d like to see the wall though and that’s a great picture of you 🙂

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    • For one thing, they have soldiers to pay and the maintenance of the place, and upkeep of the parking etc. etc. All in the cost of doing business, I guess. We didn’t have to pay extra for any tickets anywhere. The guide took care of that.
      Thanks. Yes, that’s little old me in better shape than I am today. Sigh. 😀

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  18. I’d like to see it but I worry about all of those tourist shops and so many visitors!

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  19. What a fascinating piece of architecture! It can be seen from satellite! Great tips and trivia you shared. And that is a great photo of you! Love your bag!

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    • The Wall is 5,000 years of fascination. The relatively new upgrades to the wall had to be done as it was becoming dangerous and shoot, it’s a tremendous money-maker.
      Thanks. Yup, that’s little old me. I love the bag. It holds so much. It was heavy because I carried a couple bottles of water. I never drank as much water in a day as I did on this tour. All bottled, of course.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. What a great experience! It’s something I think would be awesome to see, but me and throngs of people don’t get on well. *shudder*

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  21. I must admit to a sneaking admiration for the guard; well done he or she for handing it in. As for the wall, well one day I want to visit; it sounds such a ridiculous thing to build but glad they did. And the idea of a full sized terracota warrior — oh tempting!

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    • Not only the guard but what about all those tourists? That’s something, isn’t it? What does that say about westerners? We find it hard temptation didn’t win.
      Well, the wall worked as protection from invaders for a bunch of years and then someone found weakness or something. I think it was Mongolians who climbed the wall and attacked.
      If I had a terracotta warrior in my house, I’d feel someone was watching me. Creepy. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Looks an incredible place. And to think it can be seen from space. No wonder it needs constant maintenance with the number of tourists visiting. One of the new wonders of the world.

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  23. The Wall is about all which interests be except for some of the temples. It all just looks so peopley. *le sigh*

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