Published: August 14th 2012August 14th 2012
Tea pots at vendor stands!
Day two in Beijing!
We started our morning with a five minute traditional exercise routine. I could handle the stretching and breathing but tai chi was very fast and difficult to do! The moves we did symbolized five spirit animals but I was too focused on staying balanced to remember them! We also did patting exercises which is exactly like it sounds- you pat yourself from head to toe to benefit your circulation. I'm not sure if it helped my bloodflow but I was certainly more awake afterward! I've seen a lot of patting while walking and even hoolahooping!
After the morning of exercise and orientation we departed for the Mutianyu Great Wall! It took us about an hour by bus to get there and another half an hour just to climb to reach the actual wall. I thought I was in pretty good shape when I got here but after a few sets of very very steep steps I was seriously winded. But it was well worth the climb because the view from the wall was fantastic. It really is surreal when you're there because you can't believe people built this so high up and so many years
Me on the Great Wall
ago. A lot of the wall that we saw was restored but you can see the worn in areas where millions of people have stepped before you! There are covered areas where I believe guards slept and kept watch and other areas where they would light torches to alert the others that someone was coming. There are tons of vendors trying to sell waters and candy bars as well as figurines and knick-knacks that are so fun! I wanted to buy so much but my new Chinese friend "Soda" (Chinese students pick their English names haha!) said that things there are way overpriced and I should wait to go somewhere in the city. The most exciting part of the day was getting back down from the wall. You could walk, take a cable car or toboggan! I chose to toboggan and needless to say it was an adventure. You sit on a sled and use a hand break to slide down very steep and windy chutes. I started out slow but eventually you end up speeding up to catch up to the person in front of you! At the end of the chute were two men dressed in samurai outfits
and holding swords which was frightening until you understood that they wanted to take pictures with you! Clearly they knew we were foreigners and haggled us for money after the pictures.
I'm just about ready to pass out now, so I'll add some pictures and go to sleep!
There are more photos below