In the Spring of 1991, my childhood friend, Cheryl met me in Hong Kong, where she spent the last of my three week business trip with me, and from there, we began our China adventure to the cities of Shanghai, Beijing and the ancient capital, Xian. I kept a very detailed journal from start to finish of my awesome journey, nearly twenty-five years ago, and decided this would make a great travel series for Travelin' Cousins. Over the course of the next two months, I will post chronological segments of my journal on my respective Throwback Thursdays. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed re-living my trip! - Elisa
P.S.: We do not wish to offend anyone, but political correctness was not our thing as early twenty-somethings, so be warned.
The next stop was on the way from the Ming Tomb's was to the Great Wall! We stopped to go to the toilet, but it was at a little shopping area (actually, it was 1 store). The "bathrooms" were stalls with holes in the ground. I had no choice and had to do what I had to do. But, Cheryl refused!
This was the best shopping place yet in Beijing! The prices were quite reasonable. I bought a linen tablecloth for $40 and more postcards. They had some nice jade items too, but there wasn't enough time to really take our time shopping. I wanted to add that prior to the Ming Tombs, we were taken to a real tourist trap, and in spite of that, I did managed to find another beautiful silk embroidered table cloth, which also cost $40.
It was so expensive at this location. I guess being so close to one of the world's greatest tourist attractions, they get away with it. We did not make any purchases.
When I went to exchange money, I realized I left my pocketbook on the back of my chair in the restaurant. Thank goodness the old folks from our tour were still sitting at the table chatting.
Cheryl and I bought tee shirts for $1.00 each. We were both very proud of this purchase! Later, when we looked at them, we realized just how horribly made they were and why we only paid a dollar.
I talked Cheryl into buying a straw Chinese not to walk on the Great Wall with so our noses wouldn't get sunburned. We got a real bargain - $3.00 each! We thought we could always give the to our mothers to wear to the beach.
Anyway, the walk up "the Wall" was unbelievable!! We kept reflecting on how amazing the structure was considering it was built between 220–206 BC. This structural marvel, now known as the Great Wall was originally built as a series of fortifications built along the northern borders of China mainly to protect the Chinese Empire against invasions from the various nomadic groups. However, it did not succeed in repelling invaders since the Mongols did manage to invade.
The main Great Wall line stretches from Shanhaiguan in the east, to Lop Lake in the west, along an arc that roughly delineates the southern edge of Inner Mongolia. Based on one archaeological survey, it was found that the entire wall with all of its branches measure out to be 21,196 km. It twists and turns through Northern China lille a great dragon.
We were at the Badaling section (just north of Beijing) and not too far from the Ming Tomb's, which is the most visited part.This particular part of the wall was begun in 400 BC.
I decided to "get evidence" of this incline with some fun pictures. However, in my attempt to get a "good incline" picture, I took one of Cheryl from behind, as she was all bent over walking. Needless to say, Cheryl was very unhappy with the "view" of this picture
The highlights of the walk were trying to take pictures without people blocking your view, people sitting on the edge, and there was even a woman walking down the wall wearing high heels! Now considering this was in the days before digital cameras, we took two rolls of 36 on the wall alone!
Tune in for Part 7: Beijing: The Forbidden City, in two weeks!