Yesterday, Oct 23, was All Beijing All The Time! Wow, what an action-packed day. We hopped in the big blue bus early in the morning and headed out of the downtown area, narrowly avoided killing at least 5 pedestrians and 18 bicyclists by my count. First stop was quick peek at a Jade factory where we learned how to tell real jade from the fake stuff (I'm still not sure I'd be able to do it very well - guess I'm a slow learner). The factory was massive and jam-packed with temptingly beautiful jade masterpieces in every color of the rainbow. We bought a cool carved "Family Ball" that represents 4 generations of family. We picked one out that had a double dragon and double phoenix in honor of our girls.
Next we zipped over to the Great Wall - the place we'd all been waiting for. And I don't even know what to say about it, because it was jaw droppingly amazing. I couldn't believe I was actually saying "hey, we're sitting on the Great Wall!!!" Never in a million years thought those words would come out of my mouth. It's mind boggling just being there. Some of our group went all the way to the top (Susie and Pete!), some went about halfway, and some went a smidge less and then sat in the middle of the stairs for about 20 minutes grinning at everyone in sight and cheering everyone on (ok, that was me and Michelle). We got smiles from everyone who passed us right there on the steps of the Great Wall and just had a grand time. Here's the view from where we were sitting. Oh, we even saw a man in a bathrobe carrying a bottle of wine - what the heck?