Friday, August 20, 2010

Train for the Great Wall even if......

Even if you think you won't be climbing it. Because you just MIGHT!
Oy Vay! That's what happened to us yesterday, on my birthday, August 20th. Our plan was to take one of the cable car rides up to the wall, take some pictures and ride the toboggan slide down. Unfortunately, we did not know (nor were we told) that there are TWO cable car rides and the slide is only next to one of them. Ugh!

I knew that the Great Wall of China was a huge structure that spanned thousands of miles. So large that it can even be viewed from space. I pictured in my mind great expanses of walkways on top of the wall. Ummmmm... not so much. Actually, there are some expanses of walkway on the wall but there are many, many STEEP staircases going both up and down. This was an incredible discovery for someone/family ill prepared for a great climb. What we decided to do since we were sent up the wrong cable car ride was to walk to the other cable car/toboggan ride area.

[We pause in this story to show a picture of where we are staying. The first picture is of the Novotel Hotel in downtown Beijing. It is walking distance to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. We hired a private van to pick us up at the airport and bring us here because it was so late at night. But we will take a subway back that apparently goes directly to the airport and is across the street from our hotel.]Here are some pictures of our climb (there will be no pictures of me huffing and puffing):

The first pic is of Dave and the boys against the wall.I always like to take one of these type of pictures with the three of them holding hands.Here is a picture with one of the watch-tower turrets that run all along the wall. You will notice that Alex's hand is extended in the air. He said he was posing like the Statue of Liberty. I guess wearing a red, white and blue shirt with the US flag on it, didn't scream American enough to him.The last two pictures show a bit of our climb. Particularly, the second picture. That entire stretch of the wall that you see in this picture, was our climb (it is not a walk, it is a climb). Way in the distance, at the top of the far mountain is a building that has a traditional roof on its structure. I hope you can see it. That is where we began.Dave doesn't think that picture does it justice. He believes it does not show the steepness of the climb. At least you can judge the great distance. Dave just said that parts of it are as steep as a Black Diamond ski run.

So, the moral of this story is, even if you think you will only be going to the Great Wall with two 6 year olds to take a nice ride and have a photo op, you may just end up doing much more than you planned!
Another lesson to learn if you decide to try the cable car rides, make sure you GET ON THE CORRECT RIDE. Here are the differences.
This is the WRONG cable car ride if you want to do the Toboggan ride down the mountain,

This is the Correct cable car ride. Notice it is more like a chair lift that you would see at a ski resort. Less like the enclosed cable car. (If you scroll down this guy's travel blog you can see the chair lift. It's the best picture I could find)

Here is a link to the Toboggan ride. A definite MUST DO! You have a choice of a single car, or a double car. The kids sit in front of the adult in the double car.

My friend Diana is making the posts for me, as Blogger (and Facebook) are blocked by China. I have also noticed on other internet searches that many things are blocked by China. There are moments like this that help you appreciate the freedoms we all take for granted living in the US. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press is a wonderful thing to have.

Love to all,

1 comment:

  1. I am sooo excited that you are in China!
    I am eager to read about your finally meeting Chen Jie!


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