China, post 10 – Great Wall

Wednesday afternoon was our trip to the Great Wall. And it was pouring.

The section of the wall that we were going to is the Badaling Great Wall. It’s one of the closest to Beijing, if not the closest. It’s also the most touristy and for me didn’t really have the feel of the Great Wall. It was like Disney’s Great Wall with gift shops and a village and restaurants. And a ginormous Olympics sign right on the top off the mountain. Plus this part of the wall has been repaired and repaved so many times.

The good news is that the rain stopped once we got outside of Beijing. There was a lot of mist, and all of a sudden, there were mountains!

One of the things we passed – it’s a Chinese Disney-like amusement park, called Happy Valley, I think?
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And then there was wall on top of the mountains:
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I was on the wrong side of the bus, but here are some pictures through the window:
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I don’t know what this place was, but it looked really cool!
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And here we are at the Visitors Center:
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We got a chance to use the restroom, only they were having plumbing issues and there was no water, nothing was flushing and thus the western toilets were closed and all they had were squat toilets!

So Sharon and I decided to wait and hope for a bathroom in the museum, which we had to go through before we could get to the actual wall. I was very impatient, but I took a few pics.

Map of the Great Wall in China:
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Walking towards the wall:
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Behold – the obnoxious Olympics sign.
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You can see how misty it is…
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You can see the sign again and the wall stretching away to the right:
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*So* misty:
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We liked the curved walls:
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The wall was pretty steep – mostly ramps with sections of stairs, some of which were uneven.
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This is where I’m headed!
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Steep:
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Back the other way:
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Steep – and misty!
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Doug and Dave ran ahead – you can see them here, actually. Doug’s in orange:
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This is the view from as high as I got on this side. Doug and Dave said the view was really misty and it wasn’t worth going the rest of the way up. Also, later we ran into Judy who mentioned “did you see the section of original wall?” which I guess you can see from the top – but they didn’t know to look for it!

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So we headed back down.

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Check out the wedge heels on this girl – I don’t know how she did it!
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You can see the whole visitors center complex here :
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Now we’re up the other side:
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Oh look how close we are to the Olympics sign!
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This is the top, in the direction I’m heading. Note the view to the left. Once again Doug and Dave ran on ahead (which I had said was ok both times, since Doug is always super patient about waiting for me and helping me deal with my knees). I went at my own pace – and then met them when they were on their way down. Once we got down, I asked about the view and they said it was great! So then I got annoyed, because I was already a good part of the way there, if the view was so good, I would have liked to have seen it! It was getting late, but still! Meh. But off to the left is what you got a few of from the top.

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This side was way crowded earlier, which is why we went the other way. The crowd had thinned out by this time:
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There go Doug and Dave! (orange shirt)
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See, I got pretty far! Argh. I should have just kept going.
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It was getting pretty dark though…
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Doug and Dave head down:
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Let’s not forget a few iphone photos:
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Then we headed for dinner. One of the decorations inside:
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The food was so-so. But I liked this:
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There was, of course, a gift shop. But they also had this high-end one. I like these:
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We figured out that some of the people had gotten to eat outside on the roof – and figured out how to get up there. It had a really nice view of the wall!
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Look at all our buses!
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The other section, the first one we went up, without the Olympic sign, behind us:
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It started to get dark, and they lit up the Wall…
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And then the karaoke started. o_O
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And then – they turned the wall off and it disappeared! wacky.

Horrible pictures, but we passed another section of lit up wall on the way back to Beijing:
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