Saturday, September 8, 2007

Sep 8 – The Great Wall

Robert is in the lobby waiting to guide us to The Great Wall at 9am.

On the way we stop for a tour of a jade factory and of course, a gift shop. We are beginning to see a pattern here. Either the guides of the tour company must get a kickback to bring people here.



Then it was off to the section of the Great Wall that we will hike. Nannette said that she rode a cable car up at another section, an option not open to us. It was 32C and very hot in the sun. The stairs are steep, short and uneven. The wall is built over all types of terrain and this section is very hilly. It took about 1,000 steps to get to the hero station, at which point I decided to quit. I was not feeling well because of the sleep deprivation and the sick spell the night before. I could have paid some money for a certificate but I decided a photograph by the sign was sufficient.



I sat down to rest in the shade and wait for Stuart to climb to the third station. I knew that with the heat, breathing problems and fatigue, I did not want to hurt myself and ruin the rest of my vacation. It took Stuart a while to reach his quitting point. I knew that this wall was going on and on, seemingly forever and I did not need to prove anything. Been there, a point there and done some of it and that is enough.








The wall continues on the other side of the valley


The lower sections were quite crowded with even some very elderly people climbing the very steep uneven stairs.



We are sweating and very uncomfortable in the heat with any exertion at all. Robert takes us to another factory tour, I think it was a large cloisonné place, for lunch. It was a buffet of mediocre food. A small improvement in the other restaurants we have dined in.


After lunch, we visited the Ming Tombs.






Our Peking Duck dinner was disgusting. The restaurant appeared to be a hole in the wall . We were guided to a room on the second floor where the air conditioning is going full blast. We complained that the room is too cold, the staff turn it off. Apparently the cooling system is either on or off. There is no in-between.

There was only one duck dish and it was awful. The other dishes were terrible too. We barely ate anything and just headed back to our hotel. We were disappointed with this supposedly special dinner.

Back to the hotel for much needed rest.

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