Since I woke up before the roosters, I had a little time to kill in the night/morning before we left. While checking out the hotel grounds I discovered this- A restaurant named after Texas. I must say that I thought finding a mexican restaurant in France was funny but this tops it. I was sure to take a few moments through the remainder of the day to remind my teammates that China did not name a restaurant after their state which proves how great Texas really is. I am not sure what they serve- probably fried rice. :)
We started out with a trip to Tiannamen Square. They added some giant screens since the last time I visited. I found the contrast between the constant hazy skies of Beijing and the pictures on the screen to be amusing.
I decided to play a little with the panorama function on my iphone since Tiannamen Square and The Forbidden City are the perfect layout for such an experiment. I think they turned out kinda cool and give you a different perspective on the area.
Trent reminded me before going to the Forbidden City to stay away from the throne area. It is this room you can look into that is so overshadowed by the crushing experience of getting there that by the time you leave, you are so glad to be alive that you don't remember what you saw.
There are many things that I love about Chinese culture. Most of them make me smile and some occasionally leave my puzzled. I believe the fashion speaks for itself, but a basketball goal in the middle of The Forbidden City???? Sure- why not.
I think my favorite part of days like this is sometimes just looking out the window while we drive from place to place. One of the most memorable parts of the day was spending an hour in a traffic jam and getting to observe the Chinese people as they navigated that experience. Thankfully we survived because it was questionable at times. :)
After our adventures in trafficdom, we finally arrived at The Great Wall. I love The Great Wall. I love the beauty of The Great Wall and the area that surrounds it. I love the history of the Great Wall. I love all that it symbolizes if you really stop and think about it. I just love the Great Wall. Unfortunately, I am not a great climber of the Great Wall. I swear it's because some of the steps are just a bit shorter than my leg length but that doesn't hold much when I watch these little bitty ones going up and down. Before I completely gave up, I did take a picture of my foot so the hubs could see how far I did make it.
Three of our younger members managed to make it much further and even earned metals for their accomplishment. Those of us 30 and over stayed behind for our own adventures in observing things. We also had many locals stop and ask to have their picture taken with us. I am not sure if they were fascinated by us or just wanted a picture with those Americans who were defeated by their wall.
The rest of the day was about keeping my eyes open so the camera stayed tucked away. We had dinner at another traditional Chinese restaurant when truthfully all that I could think of was my bed and a bowl of Fruity Pebbles.
Today we fly out of Beijing and head to our destination. I am excited for what next week holds and hopeful that it is life changing for all involved.