One Year, One Wall, one heck of a City!

Trip Start Jun 30, 2008
Trip End Dec 31, 2009

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Sunday, July 5, 2009


We celebrated by going to the Mutianyu Section of the Great Wall and taking a chair lift part way up and a chute down.  This was a special treat because I always make us walk for the exercise (even if it means carrying Monique part way) BUT mainly because I'm too cheap to pay more for the lift up then the cost of seeing the site itself.  The children and Janice (and me too) were very pleased at the special treat to mark our one year anniversary.  It was a great day!

We don’t move very fast when we travel unlike the American family we met on the Wall who had 48 hours to see Beijing and area.  We did have time to get to know them as we all took a 'breather’ and learned he was a pilot on a layover who brought his family over to see as much as they could in the time they had. 

We can now say we have been to the Great Wall of China because over the past week we have visited every section one can reach in this area (Badaling, Simatai, Mutianyu, and Juyongguan Sections).  Sadly, Badaling (most popular with tourists) is the shortest and least interesting.  Perhaps because it is the easiest to reach and climb it is the most popular. 

Admittedly, we can’t say we can recite the historical significance of each part and how, when and why a particular section was built but we stare in amazement at the sheer enormity of the Wall and see not stone placed upon stone but the story it tells.  When I walk the Wall I know that far more than we think is possible is actually possible.  The Great Wall was built 400-2000 years ago over 5000 km long on top of mountain ridges that you and I would not normally even hike.  The wall is an inspiration to me that great things are possible when we work together.

Also this week:

-         We attended two church services with hundreds of Expats.  Janice and I returned in the evening (date night) to watch the movie "Fireproof" starring Kirk Cameron.

         In the 40 degree heat we found a mall with a skating rink and spent time skating and cooling off.

         We were invited out for dinner and had our official “Beijing Duck” along with 22 other dishes.

         We took a 240km day trip to Tianjin and back by train at 333km/h from Asia’s largest train station.

         While talking about the economy and politics with a 50 something year old successful businessman I liked the way he explained the Chinese government to me.  I always ask about the lack of democracy in China and usually get the same answers.  This guy when asked said “look what you get with democracy – George Bush”.  Okay, he got me there but I wanted to learn more.  The man went on to explain to me that the Chinese Government is like the Chinese family.  In a Chinese family, the father is the boss and right or wrong you do what he says.   The man explained that the he government like a father is not always right but you know he has your best interests a heart. 

         I have never heard anyone very critical of the government and having lived here this long and got to know several Chinese very well I don’t think they fear persecution.  The Chinese are not naive and know that there are problems in the government and that they are not told everything but generally the government is left to governing and the people are left to work hard and prosper.  For example, the man we are renting our apartment from right now is about 33 years old and owns a total of 5 apartments in this one building.

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karenandfrank on

Hi from SA
Hi Janice...Very nice pics and what an awesome wall to climb. Love reading about your journey! One year, wow, time flies! Love k.

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