You are not a hero until you climb the Great Wall

Chairman Mao said, “You are not a hero until you climb the Great Wall.” There are various interpretations of this quote but the general idea is there.

Day 3 in Beijing had a lot in store for us. We started with a trip to the Sacred Way of Ming Tombs followed by a visit to the Jade Store and a hike of the Great Wall that ended with a photo opportunity of the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube.

The Ming Tombs were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in August 2003. They were listed along with other tombs under the “Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties” designation. It was a beautiful day to stroll through the various statues.

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On our way to the Great Wall we stopped at the Jade Store to learn about various types of jade as well as how to tell if jade is real or fake. If you hold jade up to the light, you should be able to see imperfections in the stone. If there are no imperfections you probably have a plastic or glass manufactured piece. While on our tour of the jade store, we learned that jade is an ever growing commodity and a great investment as the price is not depreciating. However, I would do a little research before selling my stocks and investing in jade!

The Great Wall begun construction in the 5th century BC to keep out foreign invaders. Construction continued for centuries, eventually linking up the walls of the former independent kingdoms. The Great Wall meanders through China’s northern mountain ranges from the Yellow Sea to the Gobi Desert which is over 3,500 miles! There are various sections of the Great Wall that you are able to climb and we were taken to the Badaling section. When you get to this section you can choose the easy side or the harder side. We were told the harder side had less people and of course we opted for that. There are no words to describe the feeling that came over me when I reached the end of the Great Wall and took a moment to sit and reflect on all the history under foot.

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I didn’t think there could be anything else to see that would follow up a day at the Great Wall, but I am obsessed with the Olympics. We had a moment to stop and visit the site of the 2008 Summer Olympics and see the Beijing National Stadium as well as the Beijing National Aquatics Center. I went to USC and thus I have had the opportunity to constantly visit the 1984 Olympic Coliseum, but the Bird’s Nest puts that one to shame!

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Finally, we were back at our hotel where in room one-hour reflexology massages were offered for an incredibly cheap price. Kalindra and I both indulged and felt immediately relaxed after all the walking we had incurred.

Since our first duck dinner was not the “traditional” peking duck, we thought we would try one more time to see what it was all about. As far as duck goes, I can say it was quite delicious but I am not the biggest fan.

This was one of the best days I have had in any country I have been to!

Chinese lesson of the day – Thank you – Xie xie

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