Monday, May 3, 2010

I Climbed the Great Wall of China

So, life's been a bit crazy since arriving home (some time ago) and it's been impossible to sit down and digest my trip or blog about it (or read anyone's elses blogs for that matter). Then last night for the first time I had a chance to flip through a photography book on the Great Wall that we bought at Tian'anmen Square, and noticed that page 1 contained a certificate with the heading "I Climbed the Great Wall of China", with space for your name and the date. So, I hereby declare that, me, Makeda, Gramma and Grampa climbed the Great Wall of China (at Badaling) on April 5, 2010. To be exact, we all climbed up. Then a certain 2 year old got carried the rest of the way as we all slid down. I'm not joking. I'm not sure exactly how defenders were able to stave off attackers on most parts of the wall, as the stones are smoothly paved in the form of a slide. A railing has been attached to the inside wall so you can shimmy down, but basically, on a snowy winter day, you could take your Crazy Carpet and whoosh to the bottom. Then you'd die. But it might be a fun way to go. I suppose we could have been spared some of this pain, but as soon as we got to the entrance, I took one look up at the highest parapet and said "I'm going thataway", and we were off, without giving much thought as to how one got back. Anyway, here are the photos from the bottom (way in the background is the high point that we climbed to), the view from the top, and the evidence that We Were Here.

Later we stopped by Spirit Way at the Ming tombs which is guarded by greater than life size statues of animals (both real and imaginary version) and officials. This is a Makeda size lion.

I didn't think it could get any better than the Great Wall. But it did. Soon we were off to Xi'an to see the excavation site of the Terracotta Warriors. None of them survived intact, and apparently it will take about a 100 years for all of the shattered figures to be pieced back together. But the best preserved have been restored and they are breathtaking, even without their original paint. These are a few of the best. I've also included Mr. Yan, the farmer who discovered them. He is a Chinese national hero. He is also my personal hero for being the only illiterate farmer I'm aware of who is able to carefully autograph the hundreds of souvenir photo books put out for sale before the gates open each morning. Lastly, Makeda wheeling her spiffy new luggage at the Xi'an airport.

Well, that's the most blogging I've done in a month, so I'll save Shanghai, Guilin and Hongkong for another post. But first, a few more random pics from this most awesome journey:
Widget, Ruff and Tessie were photos 1, 2 and 3 so we could say "hi" to them in the camera when we missed them in China:

Family shot in Tian'anmen Square:

Flaked out in a Beijing silk factory:

Grampa helping guard the Ming tombs:


Liz said...

Welcome home! Sounds like a fantastic trip.

Ashleigh, Ben, Noah and Tait said...

Barbara - I think that was your longest post ever. :) Looks like a great time had by all. My Mum completed a 1/2 marathon on the Great Wall several years ago now. One of the places I'd love to go.
Welcome Home...

Katy said...

Thanks for the update and pictures. I enjoyed your trip-nopsis

Robynhood said...

Love the photos. WOW Makeda is looking so grown up. Especially with her luggage :) Glad you had a great trip! Welcome home

hazel said...

Fabulous pictures. Wow, the scale of the Great Wall - blows my mind!

Can't wait to see Makeda and your parents again soon.

Diane M said...

Great pictures! I was wondering how you all managed on the trip. Looks like you had some fun :).

Gina said...

Wow, it looks like you had an amazing trip! Great photos!

habeshachild said...

welcome home! and thanks for the pix... can't wait for more.

i am so jealous of your trip!!

habeshachild said...

and please post on how you flew that far with a child Makeda's age. for that, you are my hero.