China Trip – Day 13

Beijing -> Jade factory, Great Wall of China, Panda Bears Weather: Overcast with the ever present smog, 45* in AM & 70* in PM

We get up at 6, shower, have breakfast and onto the bus by 7:30. Our first stop is to a Jade shop. We see people carving and polishing pieces. They explain to us how to tell the difference between cheap and expensive jade. They have bangle bracelets from $200 to $2000 and above. I just did window shopping!

Carving jade

We are then back onto the bus and on our way to see “The Great Wall of China”. It is 2,000 years old and about 4,000 miles long along the northern border of China. It was built to help protect them from the Mongolians.

Our first sighting of the Great Wall!
Climbing up this section of the Great Wall is equivalent to climbing up 42 stories high of steps! Can we do it?
The entrance, and we are off and climbing.
We decide it is doable if we take it one step at a time!
Our starting point, doesn’t look too hard, right?
They trick you by starting out going down a few steps.
Rick isn’t convinced that it will be that easy.
But we are on our way up. First flight – not so bad. No hand rail and the steps are not even though.
The steps are really steep and rests are needed by almost everyone.
John and Rick on the way up.
Rick makes it to a rest/overlook spot. Look at the wall behind him, those are some STEEP stairs!
I leave Rick at this point and head on to the top. He isn’t sure he can make it up and back with his knee in the amount of time we have before the bus leaves.
So on I go a step at a time!
It really was very steep!
Almost to the top. It would be a fantastic view if it weren’t for the smog!
I must say it would not be easy to sneak up on you way up here.
I make it to the top! Inside they are engraving medals that say the date when you climbed the Great Wall. I buy one on a loan from another couple from our group since I didn’t bring any money.
Me showing off my medal with the Great Wall seen behind me.
I go back down and meet Rick and we head back together. The ‘Wall’ really is an amazing accomplishment and something to see at least once in a life time! We can now say we saw it and were on it!
Rick on our way down.
How many more steps to go??? Think he was glad he didn’t try to go all the way to the top.
Me on the way down surprised to find Rick waited for me about half way up.
Our group at the “Great Wall” after we completed climbing. What a feat both climbing it and the building of it. It is one of the most spectacular structures ever built by man. Now I can say I have been on and in both The Great Wall AND The Great Pyramids of Giza!!! (Pictures can’t do either justice, just not the same as being there in person)

It is then back on the bus and off to another huge lunch with 14 different dishes being served. After lunch we get back on the bus and go to the Beijing Zoo to see the Panda Bears. They are native only to China and are on the endangered list. The zoo has five Panda Bears and we get to see all of them. It is extremely smoggy here today. We are even offered masks to wear if we want one. Not sure that they do that much, but if you lived in this smog everyday it certainly wouldn’t hurt. I am very thankful for our beautiful clear blue skies and clear air to breath.

Some of the lunch foods.
Entrance to the Beijing Zoo.
Entrance to the Pandas
Statues at the entrance to the Panda Bear area.

The Pandas:

They were fun to see.

We are on the bus and back to our hotel. Outside our hotel is a man that seems to always know where and when we will be places with his little truck /motor scooter and tourist treasures to buy! And always for such a deal. We have bought so many things that we end up getting him to bring us a carry-on suitcase to pack things in to get home!

Time to eat again? This time dinner only has seven entrees. We are back to our room by 8 to get to bed before our last day of sightseeing in Beijing tomorrow.