How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


Happy New Year 2018

Happy New Year to one and all. Mwah.

Wish everyone good health, happiness, and prosperity.

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Beijing, Part 6: The Great Wall

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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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Bejing at Last (Part 2)

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Image Courtesy of Sally Cronin

At last, we arrived at the hotel and were given an hour to freshen up before the welcoming dinner in the hotel dining room. Would I stay awake that long?


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The hotel is classified 5-Star and this is the lobby. Although splendid and attention-grabbing, it was not spectacular.

Table number 4, awaited, set for eight and covered with a red tablecloth. A yard-wide-diameter glass Lazy Susan (size approximate) adorned the center.

I heard neck vertebrae snap. Sue and I gawked at each other. The waitress attended to the men first. She shook out each cloth napkin and placed one corner beneath the dinner plate—smaller than a bread plate—with the opposite corner on a lap. Picture a square napkin held by one corner with points facing north and south and east and west. This placement also protected the overhang of the tablecloth, I imagine, should anyone dribble while eating. Fallen food could s-l-i-d-e down the napkin and into your lap, but not onto the floor. What do you do with the resulting ‘leftovers’? Mash them into the napkin?

Recreation of place setting

Re-creation of place setting

Did I hear the ruffle of rooster tail feathers? I bet the men in our party hadn’t felt this special since Momma kissed a boo boo. This goes to show how different our east/west worlds still are, and will in all probability never change, or I might be wrong. I giggled into my hand and figured the men might as well enjoy the attention. We females rolled our eyes. It’s possible no one even noticed we did except us.

Once everyone’s serviettes had been organized, the subject of drinks came up. Choices of beverages were water, a soft drink (Coke or ginger ale and never diet) or beer. Once the apportioned amount per table was used up, too bad. The waitress opened two small bottles of water but this wasn’t enough for all the thirsty visitors. Substitutes for soft drinks and/or beer instead of water were unfathomable to staff; no swapping and no flexibility. Our guide, Robert, offered to go to the store to buy more but the hotel staff wouldn’t allow that either. (More on drinks later).

We were called the English Group 8. Another group followed us some time later, a full busload called the French Group from Quebec and area. Busy at our own table, I still overheard a loud voice call: une, deux, trois upon their arrival. Why were these adults being treated like children, I wondered but pushed the thought away.

First dinner in China (menu incomplete due to my befuddled brain)

Robert hung around to describe the platters of food (family style) as they were placed on the Lazy Susan before he left for the subway and an hour’s ride home.

  • Hors d’oeuvres: anchovies sandwiched between thin slices of pork (a guess)
  • Tiny cucumbers, about an inch long, (looked like beginning baby growths) served as a salad
  • Bean salad, French cut
  • Cabbage something (tasty)
  • Corn soup (no corn found, and no corn flavor)
  • Sweet and sour pork (most familiar taste)
  • Cauliflower
  • Fried rice with peas
  • Beef slices
  • Pork, thick slices of boiled bacon (boiled fat, ugh)
  • For dessert: raw pumpkin slices (unflavored, not well-liked) and dates

Dinner over, neither Sue nor I recalled what time we called it a night. I imagine we collapsed into bed soon afterward, thankful for a pillow and a comfy bed.  The unnerving thing is neither of us has any recollection. None. We can’t even embellish a story under threat of pain or suffering.

Take a gander at this, our bathroom with a peekaboo wall. What? Why?

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You’re going to scratch your head and we did as well. After finding this oddity, no-one we asked gave a straight answer. Not even our tour guide. He mumbled something about watching television from the bath. An expensive glass wall to enjoy TV if you ask me. A Venetian blind hangs in place to open or close. Here the bottom half has been turned down for privacy. Check out these links for comments:

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/forums/asia-north-east-asia/topics/hotel-bathrooms-in-china

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/05/travel/05headsup.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

 

A few additional facts about China:

  • China has FOUR municipalities: Beijing (the capital), Chongqing, Shanghai, and Tianjin
  • There are 55 nationalities, PLUS the Han People who are the majority at 93%
  • The rest are minorities
  • Mandarin is the main language.
  • Although written the same all over the country, the dialects are different. Everywhere.

~*~

Next On January 27th: Beijing (Part 3): First Tour Day

© 2017 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

FYI: This is a re-blog of the best parts of my trip in 2014.


67 Comments

#BlogBattle Week 45 – Prompt: Dive

To join  and / or meet the wizard behind this challenge click below:

http://rachaelritchey.com/blogbattle/

Rules:  

  1. 1000 wordsmax
  2. fictionaltale (or true if you really want)
  3. PG(no more than PG-13Content – let’s keep this family friendly!
  4. Your story must contain the word(s) from the theme and/or be centered aroundthe theme in a way that shows it is clearly related
  5. Go for the entertainmentvalue!
  6. State the Genre of your storyat the top of your post.
  7. Post your story on Tuesday, by 11:59 PM PST
  8. Use the hashtag #BlogBattle when tweeting your story, put a link back to your #BlogBattle Short Story in the comments section of this page, and/or include a link to this page in your own blog post(it creates a “ping-back” which will alert me and our friends to your #BlogBattle post)
  9. Have fun!

Each winner will receive the awesome #BlogBattle Winner Badge to display with their winning story on their webpage.

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Goldilocks?

An unusual number of parked cars clogged the street in front of her apartment. Sandy grumbled and turned left twice to the underground garage, at the back of the building. She reached for the remote but it wasn’t on the visor. “Where the…?” An impatient car horn sounded behind her and inched forward closer. She tapped her horn back at him. Wait. The driver laid on the horn again like there was a fire.

Though early spring and breezy, Sandy’s armpits soaked through her light jacket. Blinking in concentration, she pawed the passenger seat, in the crevices, and on the floor. No luck. Her head snapped at the thump on her driver’s window unable to identify the face bent towards her.

“Open the window.” A man’s voice growled the words, and pixel by pixel, she discerned a human face: short clipped beard, mustache, angry brown eyes, nose skimming the glass. “Well?”

She snapped into action and cranked the handle a couple times. “Sorry. I’ve misplaced my remote. Let me in with yours and I’ll be out of your hair.” She wound up the window, forced a smile and set her hands on the steering wheel. Eyes bulging, he threw his hands into the air. Muttering something colorful, he slapped the window again, and stomped off. Heart racing like a thundering locomotive, her focus on the garage door, Sandy gripped the steering wheel. The double-door creaked and yawned open. Without skipping a beat, she lurched forward and around the corner to her designated spot.

Parked, then out in a flash, she noted the remote on the floor on the driver’s side. She dashed towards the trunk, grabbed her parcels and raced to the elevator. She did not intend to share the pleasure of his company in such a cramped space. Before the door slid shut, a hand plunged to the button on the wall outside without success. Muscles tense and rigid, Sandy shrieked and watched the door slip to its final destination. “Yes!”

The elevator stopped on the third floor. Sandy grasped the handles on her shopping bags and backed into a corner. Old Ma Murphy, as the the tenants called her, tapped her way into the elevator, the splitting image of the famous Einstein. “Hello, dear. Don’t you look a fright. Everything okay?”

Sandy raised a clutch of bag handles to her chest and exhaled. “Sure. I’m good. Had a tense moment with a nasty driver.”

“One reason why I never took up driving, especially these days.” The door creaked shut an inch from Ma Murphy’s behind. She poked her cane at the scruffy carpet. “Mrs. Swain is home from hospital. In need of pleasant company, she said. Going to make her tea.”

Sandy glanced at the red floor numbers. Creak. Creak. They stopped on five. Old Ma Murphy pointed the stick at her packages. “Ever wonder if you spend too much money on nonsense?”  She said, “Tsk-tsk,” circled round and shuffled out, shaking her head. “Young people these days.” The door scraped to a close and rocked upward taking its sweet time to the 11th floor.

Her floor was empty.  Already smells of early suppers cooking reminded her she’d forgotten lunch. Dropping the bags in front of 1105, Sandy fished for keys in her purse. She came up empty. This isn’t happening. It’s not happening. Hairline damp, she stamped her foot and tried again. Teeth clenched, fingers fumbled and clawed. They closed around the key ring. A door slammed in the hall, but she didn’t look up. Instead, she stabbed the lock and pushed the door with more force than intended.

Inside, she leaned against the closed door, eyes and ears on alert. Something odd hung in the air. A sixth sense held her back, wary. There couldn’t be anyone else in the apartment. She’d made enough noise to wake up the dead, hadn’t she?

The kitchen on her right, she tiptoed inside. No one and nothing. Why is it, she wondered, when you think an intruder might be in your house you don’t run for help? Instead, you choke on your heart, crossing fingers no one’s there. She grabbed the meat cleaver off the counter and almost called out, ‘Is someone here?’ Stupid question. Would an intruder answer, ‘Yes, me, the intruder.’ Living- and dining-rooms clear. Nothing worth stealing anyway.

Short of collapsing from tension, Sandy crept down the hallway. Had she shut the bedroom door before going out? She turned the knob with exquisite care, and pushed in the door, not allowing it to slam. The hair on the back of her neck prickled. One door left: the bathroom. She listened. Not a sound. A strong aroma of orange blossom bubble bath enveloped her.

Beyond terror now, Sandy wrenched the door open. A body took a dive beneath the bubbles, red-painted toenails trailed in the air. She’d recognize them anywhere.

“Clarisse. What are you doing here?” Hand thrust in the water, she shoved the head down, panting and collapsed on the floor. “How’d you get in?”

The body popped up, short hair clinging to scalp and face, gasping for air. A pale hand swept across her eyes and over her forehead, teeth gleaming like piano keys. “What a way to greet your little sister. Don’t you check your texts? We’re celebrating your promotion.”

“How’d you get in?”

“You gave me a key, silly.” Clarisse arched ink-black brows and rolled her eyes. “I buzzed and buzzed until a cute guy with a beard and mustache let me in.”

Sandy dropped the cleaver and covered her face. “You almost gave me a stroke.”

“Drama queen. Out—and then it’s your turn. We have a double date tonight.”

“Who? Not…”

Clarisse wiggled wet eyebrows.

The End

© 2015 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles


92 Comments

Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas

Have a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year;

Pockets full of money and a belly full or beer…or wine if you prefer.  

Can it be five days till Christmas already? I popped in to wish my special friends in Blog World a Merry Christmas, a fabulous holiday season, and a Hap-hap-happy New Year. Here’s an Oldie but Goldie for a sing-a-long to put you in the spirit of the season if you need a nudge. I do. We have no snow and it’s warmer than usual for December.

Credit:   ChristmasTimeTV

My granddaughter dressed my tree this year, and even put the lights on—her first time at not yet twelve—because I’ve had tendonitis for the past six months and needed help. She took it a little easy on the ornaments, but the results are a colossal success and I’m grateful she was willing. This means we’ll have less to take down before my trip to Vancouver three days after Christmas. (Can’t let the cats have too much fun while I’m away or maybe cut themselves on broken bulbs, though they’ve been good as long as I took away the tree skirt).

Do you know anyone born on New Year’s Eve? This particular sister I’ll be visiting has missed birthday presents for 60 years.

Credit:  Sarah Robinson

I had no idea my cat Dickens, adopted last January, had FIV and gingivitis. I found out about his health conditions when I took him to the vet shortly after adoption. He’s lost so much weight in the past few days, I took him to the vet two days ago. He’s lost more teeth and his gums have been a bloody mess.  He’s on pain killers and antibiotics now and already his coat looks less mangy today. How I hate forcing kitties to give them medication. On the other hand, it’s a bonus not to bleed to death myself while fighting with them. The pain meds are thick enough to smear on a paw, but the antibiotics are thin as water and he’s not forgiving.

Dickens is the tan one; Lady G. is brindle.

Dickens is the tan one; Lady G. is brindle.

November had me chained to my desk. I’d participated in NaNoWriMo though I hadn’t registered. At the last moment, a friend challenged me and unprepared, I dove in, thinking no way would I complete the task ahead. Had it not been for Karen, I would have given up by day ten—my first brain drain–but she, the competitive type, kept me at it because no way was I pooping out first. Now I have a book of short stories to edit in the New Year and maybe, maybe, I’ll complete that circle too. I tell you to stay accountable. November paid off much better than last summer had workwise.

If I had not had your kind and generous support all year, I have no idea how I might have moved forward towards my long-time goal: indie publication. Thank you. Thank you for the jab in the ribs whether you had any idea or not. I could not have done anything without you, my supportive community, and I plan to return the favor again soon in 2016. I have been mostly absent since the summer, but it has been worth it. I appreciate your kindness and thoughtfulness, each and everyone of you.

It’s been an unusual, but exciting year for me. Thank YOU.  Thank you. I had no idea what a wonderful world I’d entered when I began blogging four+ years ago. I am close to 500th posts. Close, but still a few to go.

 

Credit: gabychest

Or maybe you’d prefer a more honkytonk version:

Credit:  TheChiefEmperor

Happy New Year!

Hip-hip-hooray 2016

Hip-hip-hooray 2016


103 Comments

Blog Friends, Neighbors and Countrymen

Due to extenuating circumstances (unexpected family and social obligations: i.e. life in the fast lane), I haven’t had enough time to visit you all more often.

November, I spent writing with furious diligence, while  life around me came to a standstill. Still appointments and family visits continue to take much of my time this month. Off and on holiday entertaining and a visit to the west coast for a sister’s 60th birthday also loom large.

When time permits, I shall flit in and out and can’t wait till my schedule isn’t hampered by all these commitments. You’re always on the edge of my mind. I have not forgotten you and miss you and our daily banter.

MH900434403


107 Comments

*Applause, Applause*

 

I wrote my About Page four years ago today. It appears I’m off the radar at WordPress, however, because no notification of my blogoversary has arrived yet. Woe is me. NO matter.

It’s been an exciting time and I count myself most fortunate to have met so many fascinating bloggers. Some of you have stuck with me from the beginning to present day. Yes, it took time to meet one at a time, but I’m exhilarated to be a part of this kind and nurturing community.

At last I’m writing thanks to the discovery of Word Press and blogging. I hope with time I learn and improve this amazing and fulfilling craft. You have been most generous in your support and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Credit: Microsoft PP Slide art

Credit: Microsoft PP Slide art

This anniversary seems the perfect opportunity to celebrate you, and to go on hiatus. I haven’t been firing on all pistons of late and need to rejuvenate. Instead of whining, it’s time I do something about it. I plan to clean up and complete impatient writing projects for which I’ve had neither time nor energy, and to add new ones.

See you in September, kids. Wish me luck. It feels strange to cut myself off for the summer, but I’m doing it because I must. I miss you already.

Credit:  AK47bandit


44 Comments

100-Word Challenge for Grownups – Week 151

To find out more about this challenge, click below:

https://jfb57.wordpress.com/2015/05/04/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week151-3/

The prompt this week is: …Pink…  + 100 words

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The Pink One

“I don’t like this dress!” Like liquid diamonds, huge tears slid down Susanna’s plump cheeks.

“Do you like the Cinderella dress?”

“Yes. Is bootiful”

“Is it the same color as the dress you don’t like?”

“Y-es? I wear it to party?”

“No. This is a birthday party not a princess party.”

The five-year-old’s mouth puckered. “I wanna wear the pink one. It’s girlie-girl. It make circles when I go round and round.”

“Honey, it’s too small now.

“I not going.”

“And miss cake and ice-cream with your friends?”

Her eyes lit up. “Maybe princess dress?”

“No.”

Sigh. “Okay. I wear it.”

 

© 2015 Tess and How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved.


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On the Yangtze River: Day 13, Part 2

(No pictures again. I have no idea what I was thinking that I forgot to take some. Next episode we’ll be back to normal—almost.)

Chinese Saying:

            “If you run out of oil for the hot pot, just pour in some wine.”

Images of Chinese hot pot

~ * ~

Sue returned livid from the morning’s excursion to the Red Cliffs. It had been awful, she told me. The group had started with 26 people and ended up with six. Why did some say it had been a wonderful tour, when Sue thought it was a waste of time? Why didn’t people tell the truth? There had been nothing to see except fake building fronts.

LUNCH Offerings

Cold salads: pasta; orange broccoli; apple and celery; dry bean curd with sour sauce; chicken in herb sauce and red beans with vegetables

Salad Bar

Romaine; red cabbage (chunks and sliced); cucumber slices; grape tomatoes; sliced black olives; real bacon bits; Parmesan; cubed melon; adorable baby oranges and watermelon slices

Dressings

Italian, Thousand Island and French

 Hot lunch

Dumplings; roasted chicken wings; dry-fried string beans; roasted pork with bamboo shoots; roasted potatoes; braised fish with tomato and sesame; stir fried mixed vegetable with a sauce; French Fries; seasonal green vegetables; steamed white rice; creamed vegetable soup; mushroom and chicken soup.

White bread, sliced, rolls and butter

Desserts

Lemon Jello; tarts; strawberry cheese cake; caramel custard; green tea mousse and chocolate cake

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

On-board Activities 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

The on-board doctor and his assistant gave a Chinese Medicine lecture, primarily about acupuncture. I found the presentation interesting, but I’m sure the purpose was to drum up business. A line of people signed up for a consultation afterwards. I believe a fee figured in there, but I don’t remember clearly.

Afterwards, an hour-long old documentary was shown about the Three Gorges Dam and evacuation of the people.

We dressed up for the Captain’s cocktail party (6:00 – 7:00 p.m.). I wore a long sun-dress and my favorite four-inch heels (hard to put on over bare feet, but no way was I wearing hose). Sue dressed in a skirt and top and her new shoes, but her feet and ankles were still too swollen. She felt self-conscious showing them off and changed into pants.

Up the stairs we toddled in our finery. The crew was lined up in the foyer, on Deck 5. Flutes of cheap champagne were handed out and the crew stood in a receiving line outside the entrance to the bar and restaurant. I was startled that the captain was the shortest male in attendance. He had nice teeth and his smile made me think of a certain Russian leader–a shorter version. Why had this crossed my mind? I can’t make this stuff up (yes, stuff). Honest.

Four females partnered with male crew members started the dancing. Not all danced ballroom well, but the long gowns were interesting as were their efforts. Next they each picked members of the audience and one fellow from our English Group 8 was chosen to which he obligated. I’m glad it wasn’t me.

Brave couples joined the dancers for the Chicken Dance, the Macarena, the Twist, a line dance and a jive. I noticed two young guys (late thirties?) appeared to share the same girl for dancing. I’m always surprised when any male gets up to dance without a gun to his head. I guess the spirit really moved them to shake their booty.

Robert, our first tour guide in China, was on-board with another group to look after. We the English Group 8 had no-one while on the ship, unlike all the other groups.

Cocktails over, the crew lined up across the dance floor, toasts were made and drunk. The captain schmoozed and moved around the room, but it appeared to me his heart wasn’t in it. A camera guy followed him as close as butter on bread. Pictures would be on sale soon after dinner. Monitors with screen shows were available to view and choose photos for purchase. Nothing happens here without a chance of making an extra buck I guess.

SUPPER

Cold salads: Romaine; red cabbage; sliced red cabbage; toothpick-sliced raw carrots; chickpeas;  Longan (lychee fruit); cubed melon; sliced watermelon and cubed pineapple.

Quartered tomatoes sprinkled with Parmesan; corn and tuna salad, cauliflower salad with (thin) white cheese slices; squid with local style broccoli with Natto and mixed cow peas with pickles

MAIN

Roasted shoulder butt (what? That’s what the card said.); mushroom sauce; black pepper sauce; fried pork with peppers; roast Taro; stir fried pork and mushroom; chicken with potatoes; steamed fish fillet with spiced cabbage; grilled eggplant; boiled pork with mixed mushrooms; pizza squares; white rice; white cream potato soup and stewed spare ribs soup with wax gourd

Desserts

Chocolate brownies; peach pie (cake); strawberry mousse; jelly roll and cake with icing.

I don’t eat dessert. When I asked how they were, the ladies who tried them stated they were tasteless and it was impossible to tell one from the other.

After dinner, I sweet talked our young waiter to top up my wine glass, which I then took back to the cabin. Another lady in our group asked for a filled glass as  well, and gave it to me. I kept Sue talking till around 11:00 p.m. because I didn’t want the lights out yet, and wanted to type up some of my notes from the day.

~ * ~

Next on December 26, On the Yangtze River, Day 14, Part 3 (Excursion to Three Gorges Dam)

For more related posts, click on China tab at the top of the page

© 2014 All Right Reserved TAK

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I will be taking time for the holidays starting late Tuesday.  I’ll pop in and out when time permits. I have another post coming on Tuesday for Christmas wishes.  


151 Comments

Beijing Day 4 / Part 1 – The Great Wall

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
Some shops

Some 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 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 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.

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 disappointed.

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 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.

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 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
I'm still standing

I’m still standing

Next on July 4th, Beijing, Day 4, Part 2: Ming Tombs

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