The Great Wall
The Great Wall is hugely popular with Chinese and foreign travelers. It was a highlight of our trip to China. We bussed out to a section of the wall that is close to Beijing.
As luck would have it, we were in China during a Golden Week holiday. Three of these week long labor holidays are celebrated each year. We spent a good portion of our vacation with 1 out of every 4 Chinese people who traveled that week (so the English “China Daily” reported). Since we didn’t know the difference, the crowds added to the ambiance of visiting China. We noticed a lot more Western travelers at sights after the holiday was over.
I did a bit of work on this picture to minimize the smog so you could read the huge sign erected for the 2008 Olympics: One World – One Dream. (Notice all the little people along the top of the wall!)
We toured a cloisonné factory on the drive to the Wall.
Here’s a short video I found on Youtube showing how cloisonné is made.
Food! I haven’t written about the food…All of our meals were included in our tour but before the tour started we had the fun of choosing dishes off handy picture menus. The food was very similar to Chinese food in the U.S. but a lot cheaper. For one meal six of us ordered 9 dishes plus drinks and the bill was $22! Most of the restaurants we went to were like banquet halls. A large restaurant could be 3-4 stories and have lots of private rooms. We got pretty good with chopsticks and were never hungry!
Assorted dishes flowed out of the kitchen, onto a lazy Susan in the center of the table where they spun around so we could dish up as much as we wanted onto a little plate. And they kept coming. Sometimes a soup was near the beginning and sometimes not. Rice was usually near the end, a filler, in case you didn’t get enough. No meal was complete without watermelon. That was dessert. We love Chinese food and most all of the flavors were familiar to us. I think the tour avoided choosing dishes that Americans would find strange. Over the length of the tour I never got tired of Chinese food, though I would have enjoyed a sandwich for lunch instead of the full meal deal once in awhile. We stayed away from raw salad items and fruits that couldn’t be peeled and we drank bottled water. I got used to Coke with no ice. It was usually served cold. Will drank a lot of beer, sort of a “near beer”, with a lower alcohol content.
And to finish this post, here’s one more Beijing park. Zhongshan Park could not have been prettier!
Perfect timing for tulips!