Posted by Emily Block | 1 comments

Beijing (Part 3)

   Another bit of a drive brought us to the Great Wall.  I asked to bring my wheelchair, but the guide said that it wasn't accessible.  Sad face. I asked how far it was and she said it was just a little, easy walk.  No big deal.

   In reality, it was 20 minutes of this:

haha  Oh well, I did ok as long as I went slow and took breaks.  So no harm done and I got some exercise.

At this point on the trip, I had been adopted by a couple of life long learners and they bought me a panda hat since I didn't have a chance to get money at the hotel the night before.  I flipping love that panda hat!  I don't care how ridiculous I look, I am going to wear it even in the middle of a California summer when I get home!  


I made it to the top of the hill and took a gondola the rest of the way up to the wall.  It was a very scenic trip.  I didn't have my usual mini-panic attack that usually accompanies use of ski lifts or gondolas.  

The ride was really pleasant and scenic.

Then I was on the Great Wall of China!  A place I had seen in pictures and film since before I can coherently remember and I was standing on it!  There was much rejoicing and picture taking.

It was even more beautiful and more amazing than I could have imagined.  Plus, I was able to do the hiking and climbing required to get around!

On the way down, I had fun taking my time and looking at the booths selling really nice souvenirs.  The vendors were super pushing, going as far as grabbing us, but I didn't really mind.  I just would say I had no money (which was true) and move on.  Part way down I ended up finding a stray $5 and was able to get a beautiful embroidered picture with it.  At the very end of the way down, I found an additional $3 and this guy was SO nice in giving me a piece of marble with my name carved in it for that price.  He knew I really didn't have any more money and I really wanted the stamp.  Very nice guy.

Some people commented on my stroke walk (I actually look like I had a stroke when I walk downhill.  Those leg muscles never quite recovered from the stroke.) but I didn't get as many stares or comments as I expected.  

There were some strange and interesting things in the market lining the path back from the Great Wall.  I saw this and gave up trying to decide what was going on there.  

And naturally, there were camels.  Why wouldn't there be camels right?

On the way back, we were running early so we got to stop at a tea house.  We participated in a tea tasting demonstration which was really fun.  I never knew that making and drinking tea was such an art!  I liked most of the teas I tried, especially the fruit tea!  I spent an embarrassing amount of money on the tea and had fun taking pictures of the decorations.  

Dinner was at one of the most popular restaurants in the city.  It specialized in duck which was something I had never tried before.  After I heard how the poor duckies were raised, I almost didn't want to try them ever.  ( I did try the duck and it was delicious.  I justified it with the fact that the duck was already dead and I didn't want it to go to waste.  Weak, I know.)  The ducks are raised in increments of 15 days.  They start out free ranging on the river banks for 15 days to build up their muscle.  Then they are packed into a small pen and overfed.  The overfeeding and the inability to move make them gain a bunch of fat.  Then they free range again, and then they get put back in a pen but the floor of that pen is on a hot plate.  This is where it get's REALLY sad.  The hot plate is so hot that it burns the duck's feet so they jump and hop to try to not have their feet burn.  They are forced to do this for days and days until their meat is deemed perfect and they are killed for food.  So sad!

1 comment:

  1. That panda hat is amazing. The rest of the trip is amazing too, but that hat especially :) And that Obama thing. What is this I don't even.


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