We met our guide Ling Ling in the lobby this morning at 8:30 to begin our tour of the Great Wall and Summer Palace. We went to the Mutianyu section of the wall, which has a cable car that takes you up to the wall and a toboggan sled you can ride down. We all really enjoyed this! The wall itself is absolutely magnificent. There is really no way the pictures can do it justice.When we were finished at the wall, we had lunch at a Cloisonne factory. We were served chicken with peanuts, beef and onions, and sweet and sour pork, along with two vegetables. It was all good. Then we were given a brief tour of the different stages of making Cloisonne. It was quite interesting and gave us an appreciation for this type of craft. Of course, we also stopped in the showroom and came out with a few souveniers!
Our last stop was the Summer Palace, which was where the emperors stayed in the summer to escape the heat of the city. We took a dragon boat ride across Kunming Lake and walked through some beauiful places. By this time we were all tired, and Elizabeth had fallen sound asleep, so we didn't stay very long.
This evening we packed everything back into suitcases as we leave tomorrow for Wuhan. Here are a few things about Beijing:
- It is a very international city. Many signs are written in both Mandarin and English. There are many recognizable brands and stores.
- It is a beautiful city. There are large flower displays everywhere!
- It is an interesting mix of old and new, rich and poor. You can find very close together brand new buildings and buildings centuries old. Also, the area around our hotel is filled with stores such as Gucci and Cartier but we have also seen many beggars.
- The traffic is CRAZY! Apparently the lines on the roads are just suggestions.
- The people have been friendly and helpful, and we have enjoyed our stay here.
Off to Wuhan in the morning!