Grumpy on the Great Wall

Ok so having had a night of interrupted sleep we had to get up at 7.00 in order to be ready for our first full day in Beijing. You’d have thought sleep would come easy after all the excitement of the night before but no. At 3am in the morning my mind was racing and literally wouldn’t finish a sentence. Plus it was stiflingly hot as apparently it is a Government ruling that we are not allowed air conditioning in our room. So instead of refreshing air the vent is in fact pumping out heat. Too much heat. Then at 4am Jane’s phone decided to ring with an incoming call. Excellent.
Oh my dog I was tired by the time I could get up. Oh and still jet lagged obviously- so I was right up for it. We went down for breakfast where it appeared that the world and his wife had joined us and I ate some cereals and an egg and toast and immediately started to feel nauseous. I really am quite poor at being over-tired.
We met up with Yan again and piled into the van. Off we went to the Temple of Heaven where hundreds of people had already gathered to watch some old folk doing their morning exercise classes in the shade of the trees. Actually it was all rather civilised as different groups of people practiced traditional tai chi, sword tai chi, ball tai chi and our favourite badminton racquet and two ball tai chi. Jane was convinced to join in and enjoyed it so much that we actually purchased our own set. Then we walked up to the Temple itself where it turned out all the people hanging about weren’t actually queuing to get in, they were really just there for the social. They were playing cards and dominoes and some of the women had their own knitting circle.
In we went and saw the temple and Yan told us some stuff about it. I’m afraid I couldn’t really hear her so all I can tell you is that the blue tiled roof is a reference to the God of Heaven but apparently it’s not religious which seems odd. It did look rather attractive though in the sunshine today and yes..the blue sky.
Next stop for us today was a rickshaw ride around the old area of Beijing called the Hutongs. Now I’d heard about this and thought it might be a nice contrast to modern Beijing but I’m not really sure about where we got taken. Yes it was narrow allies but there just seemed to be a load of building work going on. The visit to see the nice man’s traditional courtyard house was a pleasant interlude though.
After this there was a bit of a change in our itinerary and we drove all the way out to the Great Wall of China. This took about an hour and a half during which time we all fell asleep in the van. We drove to a section of the wall called Mutianyu. This really was in a most attractive area with mountains silhouetted all around. Even so it had something of a theme park feel to it -having to catch a shuttle bus to the cable car to then get up onto the wall itself. Mind you we were glad of it as our poor bones ached from all that walking the day before. Pathetic old folk.
Up we went and agreed with Yan that we’d be on the wall itself for an hour and a half. It was pretty busy as we started out but really compared to what I’d seen it could be like on TV..this was nothing. Even so taking photos was quite stressful and this combined with jet lag it is quite a combination. I was proper grumpy and seemed to turn into someone other than my normal self. This is not good really when what you are doing is something your partner has always wanted to do. Oh dear, sorry Jane.
Anyway, the scenery was wonderful and yes we are very privileged to be able to visit. But really did we need a Burger King?
No, we didn’t but we did need something so Yan recommended the dumpling place. We were the only ones in here and had some delicious dumplings and little fried pie pancake things. We were slightly nervous when the chef treated us to some additional fried things especially when Yan laughed timidly. However, she said they were only pork so we all tucked in. I think they were….
On the way back we experienced one of Beijing’s other delights. The traffic. It took us nearly two and a half hours to get back. It was awful bumper to bumper all the way. One thing we are beginning to realise is just how many people there are here in China!

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One thought on “Grumpy on the Great Wall

  1. Mike

    Couldn’t agree more – too many people by far. Those little Chinese people get everywhere don’t they. I can’t tell u how relieved I was when u said u skipped Burger King. Stick to the dumplings every time – fried ones are best if u ask me.

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