Chillin' with the Great Wall!
At 7am Saturday morning, Robin, Christine, Kevin and I headed to the Beijing Weekend Market. It is often called the ghost market because it actual opens at sunrise (4am), but we decided we would just be a little late. It was huge! They had everything from "china", and jewelry to clothes and artwork. It was very crowded but a great place to get authentic Chinese things. I bought a gorgeous hand painting of a lily from a very sweet lady who tried hard to reply to my broken Chinese in her broken English! (I know how to say "how much is this" and a few numbers as well as how to get out of them if they painted the actual painting.) We spent a few hours there, but then it started to rain. We decided to stay indoors, so we went shopping at the Silk Market.
It was almost like the pearl market, but without pearls. It was really fun bargaining for fake things!
Today, we went to the Great Wall!! It was a perfect day to go because it has rained for the past two days, so most of the pollution was washed out of the air, and for the first time since we got here, we were able to see clouds and the sun. Kevin and Bao (our translator) organized a bus to take 30 of us. It was only about a 2 hour bus ride from our dorm, but we stopped at McDonalds on the way because we heard there wasn't any food at the Wall. Its the first time I've had McDonalds all summer, and though I normally don't eat it at home, it was amazing! Its pretty sad when the McDonalds is the nicest/cleanest restaurant around! I have a feeling it was only so good because I've gotten used to eating such bad things.
haha! They had a cable car you could take to the top at the spot we went to, but we climbed up because we are hard core. I expected it to be about the same as hiking up Stone Mt. but it was a little easier because it was all stairs, and it only took about 30 min. When we finally go to the top, it was BREATHTAKING! I couldn't believe how long it was or how beautiful the mountains surrounding it were. I don't really think that they needed a wall because the mountains were really high, but I guess the Mongols were hard core too. We spent about 2 hours just walking along the wall. I was really impressed with how well it was engineered and built. They had decent stairs and places for the rain water to drain! When it was time to meet back at the bus, we took the "speed chute" down! It wasn't that fast because people in front of us kept stopping, but it was still really fun! There really are no words to describe how incredible the Great Wall is. I really wish you all could have seen it with me!