Maria Holland

Orientation Day 4 – Great Wall

In Uncategorized on June 11, 2015 at 4:24 pm

Today started early – 7:30 – but I think I’m still between time zones enough that it was no problem.  After an hour or so on the bus, we had two hours to climb.

When my parents visited me in China in January/February of 2010, I took them to basically all of the things that we’re doing this week, but we went to a different section of the wall, Badaling.  Also it was winter.

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This time we went to Juyong Pass.  I never thought I would say that the Badaling section was flat (we slid down on our butts at the end because we couldn’t get down without holding on the handrail), but Juyongguan is much much steeper.

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We went past the tower in the picture above, to the platform about halway up the picture below.

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Some of our cohort went much higher, but one of the other Maria’s and I (both asthmatics) took it a little easier :)  Even so, Fitbit said we climbed “42 flights of stairs”.  

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We had another gorgeous day; I’m so glad we spent the two terrible air quality days at the embassy and Temple of Heaven.  

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After climbing, we were rewarded with a fantastic lunch of Peking duck at one of the most famous restaurants in Beijing, 全聚德.  We had lots of different dishes, some of which I liked (there is really nothing in this world like duck fat and crispy duck skin) and some of which . . . not so much (I’m looking at you, duck feet in horseradish sauce).  

We had the afternoon free to rest; I showered and did some journaling and struggling with apps on my phone.  In the evening there was a basketball game between EAPSI and CSTEC.  I wanted to grab food before, so I went left in search of “a bunch of noodle places” that someone had told me about.  I turned the corner into the alley before the intersection and felt like I had stumbled into a city of gold.  I stopped at the first place and got two Xi’An pork sandwiches (one of my favorite quick foods) to go for 14元, but there were also hand-pulled noodles, dumplings, malting and about 10 other places.  It looks like simple, cheap food, which was exactly what I felt like this area was missing.  I rescind all previous complaints about living in a food desert!

I took my [delicious] sandwiches back to campus to watch the game.  

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It was a really fun evening, actually.  We got really into the cheering (and, eventually, singing) and between that and the basketball, we attracted a pretty good-sized crowd.  

The EAPSI team was perhaps a bit outmatched.  As far as I know, none of us had heard anything about any basketball game until Tuesday or Wednesday, and we had climbed the Great Wall that morning.  Our CSTEC opponents on the other hand . . . as one of the EAPSI players said, “The number on that guy’s basketball shorts matches the number on his shirt.  He’s fast.”  It was a little bit of a “knives to a gun fight” situation, but after a difficult first half we rallied in the second.  We lost 45 to 31, but I really think that you have to convert their score to dollars by dividing by 6.  That’s how it works, right??

  1. It looks like there are steps everywhere on this part of the wall and hand rails. I think the problem with the Badaling section was that steep, smooth, portion.

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