We were tourists for the day. We awakened early, loaded into our van, and headed to the great wall. Sally from Grayline Tours (formerly Panda Tours) was our guide and was very professional and informative. The ride to the wall took about an hour; we visited the Ba Da Ling section. There were two sections, one that was flat and crowded and one that was steep and less traveled. We chose the last one and had a fairly decent workout getting to the top. The scenic views were amazing. The “independent merchants” were absolutely annoying. I didn’t buy anything but everyone else did. The locals were selling “100% cotton T-shirts” made of polyester and “100% silk scarves” make of nylon. The prices started very high and dropped to about 1/10 of the initial level. Doug purchased some post cards from someone on the wall and received 20 Bot instead of 20 RMB as change. The Bot (if that is even what it is) is worth about 1/100 of an RMB. So, he lost about $2 US and had a great story tell, because he was scrutinized when he tried to buy beer in a restaurant. But I couldn’t believe how motivated the locals were to climb all the way to the top of the great wall every day just to sell junk to tourists. The climb alone shows determination; the gorilla sales techniques shows their desperation for income.
We napped during the ride back to Beijing and then saw Tienanmen Square and the Forbidden City. The history and stories about past emperors were interesting. I was surprised by all of the homeless families in the tunnels under the road ways. <>
We headed back to the hotel afterwards and everyone took another nap before heading to Da Dong’s Peking Duck restaurant. It was great food; I wished we’d had that type of food in Dalian. Afterwards, in the hotel bar, we met a partner from Bakers and Daniels, the law firm in Indianapolis. We weren’t that far from home after all.