Wednesday May 25th: The Great Ending:

Today was by far the best day and highlight of the China tour. At least it was for me. Even though the last couple days were pretty hard, I was super excited and woke up way earlier than necessary. This morning is also our last breakfast in the hotel, so I made it a doozy. We were supposed to head out by 9:00, but a couple people were late, so we didn’t leave until 9:15. I was so wound up I could hardly contain myself. Five years ago Dad, Mom, and I climbed The Great Wall of China. Not all of it of course, but a good portion. Today, our group went to The Great Wall of China. I was so super excited to go back and climb it again!

I was too ancy to hold still, and kept standing up and walking to the middle door window to get a good look outside. We finally got there around 10:00, but we couldn’t start climbing yet. Finally at 10:15 they let us through and I bolted to the wall. When I climbed five years ago we went up the steepest part and back down the same. Today we had the option of going up the “short easier” part, or the “lesser of the steep” parts. I chose the latter and headed off, was the first one on the wall, and the first one to the top 40 minutes later. It was a lot harder than I remembered, but maybe that was because I was in a hurry and didn’t want to run out of time. At the top I waited for about a dozen of our group to show up. Prof. Clague made it and shot a video of us singing “Hail to the Victors” at the top of the wall. I think he’s going to put it on the website, so we can all see it there. We spent about a half hour at the top and then proceeded to head back down. The temptation was too great. While everyone else went down the way we came up, Prof. Clague and I went down the other way. The way Dad and I made it to the top five years ago. We had 45 minutes before the meeting time, and when I did it before it only took 30 minutes to go down. So we figured we’d have plenty of time. Prof. Clague is our photographer of the trip, so we had a great time taking lots of cool pictures of each other on the way down. Then we realized we were almost out of time and thought we were headed to the buses. But when we got where we thought the buses were, we looked over a fence and saw them at the very bottom of the hill. Not far at all, but we had no idea how to get there. So we went back the way we came and frantically looked for a gate to the parking lot. We didn’t find one and got stuck. We were out of time and could see the buses, but could not find the path out. At least, we couldn’t find the main path out. We decided to climb up a 4 foot wall and then drop down 15 feet to the ground on the same level as the buses. There wasn’t time to hesitate, but I wish I had gotten a picture. I jumped down first, then Prof. Clague reached down and handed the cameras to me, then he jumped down after. There was a little ledge about 1/3 of the way down, so it wasn’t a 15 foot free fall jump, but it was still pretty far and quite exhilarating. We made it to the buses just in time and then headed out for lunch. Not only have I climbed up and down The Great Wall of China, but I have also climbed over it. I felt like the Mongols!

Anyway, lunch was great, but again not anything new or exiting. Just the regular sweet and sour chicken and pork, rice, a beef and pepper dish, soup, a few others, and of course watermelon. We had lunch in a coisone museum/factory/restaurant. So when we were finished eating, we had a few minutes to shop. Everything was pretty expensive, and little to know haggling. But I did try. One guy was trying to sell me two hand painted glass bottles of The Great Wall for 220. I said that was too much and he went down to 200. I said that was still too much, but I don’t think he could go any lower. They weren’t too expensive, and they were really pretty, but I didn’t need them so I didn’t get them. We then drove to the Summer Palace and spent a couple hours there. The weather was great and there was a cool breeze coming over the lake. I decided not to race around and try to see everything and get a ton of pictures, so I just lazily walked around. I did make sure to go as close to the main pagoda as I could. When we came here 5 years ago they were doing some sort of construction and we couldn’t get very close. But I guess all that is now finished and you can pay to walk inside. I wasn’t going to do that, but I did get some pictures. Then I headed back to the meeting place, but not without doing some last minute shopping. I didn’t really need anything, but there were lots of cute little things that were already priced really cheap. So I bought a bunch of little cute stuff and decided not to spend any more the rest of the trip.

We left the Summer Palace and went to our last Lazy Susan dinner in China. It was at the top of an office restaurant building and pretty fancy. All the food was good, but again nothing weird. Everyone was super tired from our long day. I felt like a toast was needed at this last dinner in China. But no one I talked to wanted to do it and I couldn’t convince myself either. So our last day in China was winding down as we loaded the buses and went back to the hotel. We had a few last minute announcements, one of the being that we had to check out at 4:15 AM. Some of the group was talking about staying up all night and sleeping on the plane. Then when we arrived in LA at 9:00 AM they wouldn’t be as tempted to sleep and getting over jetlag would be easier. But I decided I wanted to sleep and did soundly, for about 4 hours.

Great breakfast before The Great Wall!

On our way to The Great Wall!!!

First sighting!!!

Such an awesome place!!!

So cool!!!

Starting up!!!

Really steep steps!!!

It was a lot harder than I remembered

Part way up!!!

Some of our group is down there climbing up!!!

I just walked/climbed/crawled up that!!!

A random lady insisted on taking a picture of us

At the top!!!!!!

I climbed up in 40 minutes!!!

Porf. Clague made it!!!

We came up the left, and I went down on the right!!!

There were about a dozen of us who made it to the top and sang "Hail to the Victors" at the top of The Great Wall of China!!!!!!

One big happy family!!!

On the very top!!!

The steps were aweful!!!

My favorite place in China!!!

Beautiful mountains!!!

I've climbed up and down twice, and even over a part of it once!!!

Some sort of tofu, beef, egg, and something else soup

Tarro spring rolls

Believe it or not, I'm not sick of rice

Beef and veggie dish

Um ... veggies

Fresh Fries

Potatoes and zucchini

Sweet and sour something

Fried chicken, I think

We pretty much have the same types of dishes at every meal, but they are all good

Gate inside the Coisone building

I tried haggling here, but one person only went down 20 Yuan

Entering the Summer Palace

Pagoda temple at the Summer Palace

Me on the breezy lake inside the Palace

Rock structure in garden in Palace

Inside one of the buildings at the Palace

Bridge to a small island on the lake

Dragon boat similar to the one we rode 5 years ago

Guarding Dragon

We all stood in one huge group and sang "Hail to the Victors"

We stopped the traffic for a couple minutes while all 100 of us walked across

Huge building we had our last Lazy Susan dinner in China


Beef and tomatoes

Bok Choi

Sweet and sour Chicken

Zucchini and chicken

Egg Drop creamed corn soup

Eggplant (not good)

Beef and really good onions

Sweet and sour pork

I finally tried the tree-bark mushrooms, they weren't bad


Gail said…

& CHEERS TO YOU and all!

I would have climbed and loved it with you! and in a way you have made that happen by sharing and adding your totally true and awesome photos!

Yes to your breakfast!, all of your food choices!

Was it cold climbing! What SO WAY TO COOL WALL photos! 1 the same spot on top as your first time!

and back again some day? I wonder if it remains a standing desire to "do the wall again"! GREAT WALL Day and excitement and photos!!!!!!!!!!!

Is the video available to see from your Prof?

Another day, another day of your blog! I LOVE IT!

I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! G! :)
Rebekah said…
I would love to climb again! The Great Wall is definitely one of my favorite places in the world. The video is on our China website. I'm going to try and see if I can put it on facebook.

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