Beijing 27 July 2004
After spending a night on the floor at the
airport in Delhi and nearly being irretrievably lost in the airport
at Shanghai where the ground staff broke into tears because they
had all apparently just started working there that day and without
any training, we arrived in China's capitol. A sprawling city
and except for the signs in Chinese one that looks amazingly
like a city in the US. We've done the "sights": Forbidden
City (lots of red walls and yellow-tiled roofs), Tiannamen Square
(built on a scale for giants--vast open space), the beautiful
Lama Temple with all of its Buddhist statues and Tibetan thangkas
(lovely place but very crowded) and yesterday the GREAT Wall.
It was raining as we toiled up and down the wall. There were
no tourists at all because of the weather I suppose. You could
hear the wind hissing as its swept the vast expanses of Mongolia
on one side and china on the other side. Only bird calls disturbed
the silence. But if you are not into rock climbing and rough
paths the Wall is not for you. I did not read the brochures very
closely before we got there. At one point I yelled to Ray, "I
did not know we were going to do this much mountaineering!"
Ray yelled back (he is always ahead of me), "It says on
the t-shirts 'I CLIMBED the Great Wall!" The lesson is always
to read the adverts closely. I made it the 10 km though and it
was worth the soaking and the sweat in the end.
So we leave for Wu Tai Shan, the five-peaked
mountain, tomorrow morning. Bye-bye Beijing!