Our experience visiting the Great Wall a year ago today:
Today we visited the Great Wall of China. It was a 1.5 hour drive from our hotel. We climbed to the 2nd tower from where we started, and it was STEEP and a ton of steps! Poor Jeremy wanted to go farther but I just couldn't and our guide wanted us to stay together. The views were beautiful up in the mountains, I'm so glad we got to see it.
We had another wonderful lunch with our group after. We came back and rested (by mid day here it feels like the middle of the night and we are bone tired!), then joined another family here for a walk around our hotel. There are no words to describe how many people and cars there are here in downtown Beijing. There's no pedestrian right-away, no taking turns. Lots of horn-honking and craziness! We found 2 outdoor markets that were selling all kinds of wild things like snake and starfish on a stick, squid on a stick, bugs on a stick... the second market was down a narrow alley lit up by red lanterns down the sides. It was literally thick with people making their way thru eating these things on a stick. Definitely an authentic China experience! We have been stopped a couple of times by Chinese people who want to take our picture with them. I guess they get excited to see white Americans here. They get most excited to see people with blond hair.
After the excitement of the markets, we needed a regular meal. We found a Pizza Hut in the mall, which was unlike any Pizza Hut in the states. They had all kinds of Chinese cuisine on the menu, but thankfully also had regular pizza. We've had some wonderful Chinese food so far, but we were ready for something a bit more familiar. The waitresses didn't speak English, so there was a lot of pointing at pictures and miming to place our order. We ordered Coke to drink, which came with ice. We've been told to avoid tap water and ice here, so trying to explain to them that we wanted the coke without ice was hilarious. We literally took ice cubes out of the glass and were waving our hands over it saying no. They finally brought us regular coke with no ice, but we're not totally confident if it was a new cup of coke or just the old one with the ice dumped out! Needless to say, we were ready to get back to our hotel room after that adventure. Thankful we had another family with us to experience that with!
We're still struggling with jet lag. We're dragging by early evening, but then waking up in the middle of the night not able to sleep. Hence it's 4am here in China and I'm blogging in stead of sleeping. Everyone with us says the same thing. I'd imagine we'll all get on a normal sleep pattern by the time we're ready to come home. :)
The air in Beijing is really smoggy and smokey. People smoke everywhere and the air just feels thick and dirty. We're both struggling with sinus pain and headaches, and sore throats. I'm hoping that the air quality in Zhengzhou will be better.
All this touring has been wonderful, but we're getting really close to Maggie time! In a few hours, we fly to Zhengzhou, the capitol of the Henna province where Maggie is. Today we'll travel there, get acclimated and organized for Gotcha Day on Monday!!! We keep saying how bizarre and surreal it is that in a little over 24 hours time we'll have our new little girl. We have no idea what to expect, what she'll be like and how she'll handle our first days together. We're so ready to start getting to know her and helping her realize that we're her forever family.
Here we are at the base of the portion of the Great Wall that we climbed.
Here's our view from the top.
We got to drive by quite a few of the Olympic buildings.
Some views of the market.