The great wall
Wow, got up really early this morning. Hehe, so far we been up around 11 am so it took a lot of self discipline to get up at 6:30 am but we managed to do it inspite of the jetlag (and karaoke) Had booked a guided tour for 200 RMB (180 kr) and our guide's English name was ... FRANK! The sweetest guy ever. An hour north of Beijing is the Badaling section of the Great Wall which is the most popular, but since it was the last day of the national holiday we figured it probably wouldn't be that many people. Not quite so. I think the Wall is a more spectacular experience if you're not sharing it with thousands of others but I guess it could have been worse. Also a little annoying are all the people selling nicknacks and souvenirs.
Carving the stone
But all in all it was a really great thing to do, a little cold and windy but you got warm when climbing. Oh, and it's also quite interesting to be at a tourist attraction and also be one yourself. We felt like Hollywood stars being followed by paparzzis and constantly had to pose with Chinese men and women who live outside Beijing and don't always see foreigners. It can be a little tiresome at times but you just have to go with the flow.
Now, we wondered about how the tour could be so cheap and soon found out why: After the Wall we suddenly had to visit a jade gallery and stay there for 40 minutes. It turns out that if you stay there for that long, they will pay for lunch. Which is fair enough, we didn't have to actually buy anything and we learned how to tell fake jade from real jade and saw some amazing carvings and statues and jewelry.
Display of jade products
Then we went to the Ming tombs, or one of them but really, when you've seen a temple or five it's difficult to be as amazed as you were at the first two. But then it got interesting again, we had to visit a research centre for chinese medicine and could get a doctor there to check your pulse and find out about your helth for free, and buy stuff of course. Which we didn't since we hardly have enough to eat. But it was fun to do and since we stopped at their centre they paid for the ticket to the Wall. Next stop was a traditional tea house where we could get taste tea for free an ended up buying some... But in all fairness, they paid for the ticket to the tombs so.. Last stop! Silk factory! Really cool to see how they make silk although it's not very nice for the worms. Of course there was a shop there as well and we had to stay there for 20 minutes so they'd pay the salary of the driver and guide. I call that a win win situatin! :) but we were pretty tired when we came to the hotel at 4:30 pm.