Ok, now I will tell you what really happened during our trip to the great wall.
We met our Tour Guide, Mr. Lei, at the Hotel Monday morning in the lobby. We got his name from Stacia Gaines from the Tianjin School. Apparently he is one of the best in Beijing for English speakers and does many tours for people at the US embassy and their guests.
Anyway, backtracking the first day me and Karen arrived on Sunday we trekked down a few blocks to the Temple of Heaven. People were everywhere, very crowed and you get approached a lot from people trying to sell you junk. This one nice man even asked if we would like a tour to the great wall. We said no thanks, we already had one lined up and he said thank you, and kept walking with the couple that he was guiding. I told Karen I thought he was a nice man, and for some reason he seemed very honest...... So anyway. Why am I telling you this. Well Guess who Meets us the next morning to take us on our Tour..... MR. LEI. We laughed, and he said the odds of us running into each other in Beijing was incredible, Since there are 22 million people in this city. Yes 22 million.
We set off to the Great Wall in a mini van, picking up the other couple that went with us. They were a very nice middle aged couple from Porta Vallarta, The Vasquez's, Hector and Jita. We talked for a while in the van, as we traveled the two hours to the Great Wall. It turns out that they had been in Tianjin for business the same time we were there and were visiting Beijing to sell all the sights like us. Also turns out that we are on the same flight as them heading to the states on Wednesday. Small World, and that's hard to say after being in this place.
Mr. Lei, was taking us to a very remote place of the Great Wall. Badaling and Myituna? are the very tourist areas that most people go to, and he said that they have been rebuilt many times. He wanted us to see the untouched part of the great wall in the country. The ride was long, and as we finally got out of the city, which took a while, we started to see the beautiful countryside. We drove through many villages, single lane roads, beeping at any bikes, cars, or mules that were in the way. We finally got a glimpse of the wall in the distance way up in the mountains, and that when we started driving on the dirt roads. We then came to stop and got out and Mr. Lei quickly said just right up here and we will be there. I looked straight up and asked, were we really going to walk up this mountain? you have got to be kidding me. We started up, I really didn't think the older couple would make it, so me and Karen went on and followed Mr.Lei. The starts were very steep and it was brutal climbing them. I asked later how many stories the climb was, and he said about 60 storys. I guess I made it about to the 40th story, when I realized that maybe I had gone at it a little too fast. Lightheaded and sweating, I decided to sit for a while. Hector and Jita came up a few minutes later to see me dragging, The next thing i know, I'm laying on the cement stairs, trying not to pass out. They were so nice and stayed with me and Karen while I tried to recover. Of course Karen was barely sweating, exercising is paying off. Hector took my backpack and Jita and Karen poured water down me, and finally I was ready to go. We finally made it up. Mr. Lei was patiently waiting and said many people have trouble getting up. That made me feel a little better. Anyway, you can see in the picture that I lost the shirt on the way up and Karen looks like she is out for a nice stroll.
The Wall was amazing, trees and bushes going on it. Stones lying around, and at times you literally had to climb straight up. We walked a while. It was a perfect day to go, weather was great and clear, which is unusual for Beijing. If I ever go back I think I will opt for the tourist area and ride the Gondola up. But I am glad and appreciate what Mr. Lei was trying to show us, just didn't know that It might kill me to see the real untouched part of the wall. The walk down from the Wall was much easier, of course legs are sore today but we expected that. I slept most of the way back in the van.
We then went to a Chinese restaurant that Mr Lei took us to and we ate dinner with our new friends the Vasquez's. Hector is a Manager of the Five Star Resort in Porta Vallarta and it was fun to here about his job and their kids. While at dinner, Mr. Lei ordered for us and took off to get us tickets to the Acrobatic show that night. As he was gone, we had a lot of trouble communicating with the wait staff. None of them spoke english and of course we didn't speak any Chinese, so we had the whole restaurant laughing at us. After saying goodbye to our new friends, we went to the Acrobatic Show. It was the Chinese version of what we would call Cirque de Soliel. It was amazing all the tricks that they did. Great show at CHEAP PRICE, as the market girls would say. Cab ride home was much easier tonight. If anyone ever comes to Beijing you must call Mr. Lei, I have all is info. He is very cheap, and will take very good care of you. He even gave me a cell phone to use. We will meet him on Tuesday morning as well as the Vasquez's to tour the Summer Palace. Off to bed.