Beijing, China Part 1

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Beijing, China part 1

Part 1

As I write this blog about Beijing I just know that it will probably go on forever since we did spend 2 days and we had an overnight excursion; plus, there are tons of things to talk about. Beijing is enormous! Our guide was fantastic.. He gave us so much useless information that we now feel like if we had to live in Beijing, we probably know the rules now.

Beijing is the 3rd largest city in China after Chongqing and Shanghai. So just imagine that if Beijing is the 3rd and has over 19 MILLION PEOPLE, how many do the others have? Shanghai has 30 MILLION PEOPLE!

Beijing is the Northern Capital and is the capital of the People’s Republic of China. Most business starts in Beijing, and international flights fly into Beijing. Beijing is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China. Beijing is thought to have been the largest city in the world from 1425 to 1650 and from 1710 to 1825. It is recognized as the political, educational and cultural center of China.

I went on an overnight excursion with a group from Cruise Critic. Wools and Jim were on the tour along with some other very nice people. K couldn’t make it as it was a Friday, and he would have to be back in time for Friday night services. So I was on my own. Luckily, Marianne (the organizer of the tour) found  a lovely lady for me to room with. I haven’t had a roommate in forever, but thankfully Marcia turned out to be “cool”. She is from the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and so 2 NY girls hanging out worked out well.

We arrived at the port and had to go through a serious custom rigmarole with the Chinese Port Authority. Not only did they want to see our passports but we had to have a photocopy of that same passport. We would not be allowed back on the ship without that copy, and they didn’t confiscate the copies. Strange.

Signs of Welcome to China in Chinese and English.

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Our bus was waiting for us, so we jumped on and started the trip to the Great Wall (our first stop), a 2.5 hour drive from the port.

The air was thick and the sky was totally grey. We believed it was all the pollution from all the factories.

We drove past huge cranes and skeletons of huge high rises…can you see them in the distance?   There were thousands of similar buildings being built EVERYWHERE!! and I mean EVERYWHERE!  Millions upon millions of apartments, all in the middle of construction. Basically, the Chinese are building brand new cities, and I guess they will be emptying the countryside and bringing everyone into the cities. It made no sense to me.  What are all those people going to do for work? How will they have enough food to eat it they all leave the countryside and the farms? And imagine how many more people there would be if everyone was allowed to have just one more child?????  I don’t get it!

Building Cities

The buildings in the front in blue are the housing for the construction workers.

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Workers Housing

We saw these silos (?) everywhere. We were told by our guide that it provides electricity to all of the city.  Nuclear power, maybe?

Nuclear Power 2

It is very difficult to take a picture of Beijing’s skyline since it is so very big.. but you will see individual towers in the business district, the older homes in the main center of town, the Olympic area buildings… but first a trip to the Great Wall.

We stopped for lunch to get energy for the climb at the wall. We arrived at the largest Jade Shop right outside of Beijing (of course, they wanted us to shop, but I don’t believe anyone did). Lunch is served family style, with a Lazy Susan placed in the middle of the table, and the servers bring food and place it on the Lazy Susan, and we all take and turn.. it was fun, actually. The pitcher in the middle holds green tea, and they served us beer or local wine.

Dinner 2

After lunch we headed out to the Great Wall and to the “Great Steps” of the Wall. Since the air was so bad and you really had no view, my pictures kinda look surreal.  We had some people on the tour who had trouble walking, but everyone was a trouper and really walked the Wall as best they could, climbing the stairs even though they were completely uneven and steep.

Wall Stairs

Great Wall 1

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Great Wall 6

Wools on the Wall 2

I was pretty close to everyone when I took the pictures,but there was a haze over everything, and I didn’t want to doctor the photo. I want everyone to see just how hazy it was. The haze is not from my camera!

Jack and Jim

Jim and Jack on the Wall

Looking out over the rooftops from the Great Wall.

Great Wall 10

JIm and Wools being silly on the Wall.. Jim is the first person to skip front and backwards on the Great Wall of China. Guinness Book of Records, are you listening???? Jim invited a fellow climber (Chinese, of course) to skip with him!

Being Silly on the WallJim and Skipping Partner on Wall

Check!!!! Another one off the Bucket List!!!!

Beijing continues on the next post: Post 1

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