Thursday, June 14, 2007

Nothin' Like the Great Wall

What a day. I think of all days, this was the day that I was looking forward to the most. Today we went to the Great Wall of China. But before we went there we went to another site called Ming's Tomb. This particular site was where they buried most of the emperor's from about the 1450s to the 1650s. But of all the burials that are there they've actually opened up this tomb for the public to walk through.

The neatest thing for me was to see just how far down in the ground the tomb actually was. It's amazing they were able to build such structure with minimal tools. We only spent about an hour here. The great wall and Ming's Tomb are quite a ways out of town so by the time we were done here it was lunch time (look at the picture's below to see a funny story about lunch time).

During the afternoon we finally made it to the great wall...and oh, what a site. I've never seen anything like before in my life. I mean, you have been told that the wall is 1500 miles long, but it's so hard to really understand just how amazing it is until you see the giant wall rolling over hill, after hill, after peak, after hill.

Only parts of the wall have been reconstructed and made safe enough to walk on. We climbed on the wall mostly as a group. Some made it all the way to the end (or as far as they let the public go) and some did not. But I am telling you, it is a heck of a climb. Parts of it are so steep that as you stand on the crest of the hill, you can't see the steps that are just below you. That's what I think was the most amazing thing is that they were able to build such a structure on such steep and rough landscape.

I think we all really like this day. It was so much fun to be on out own, out hiking together as a class. As you would walk along all of the sudden you would here this huge, "Let's Go..." And then from a completely different part of the mountain the reply, "Mountaineers." We took incredible pictures, and just had a really good time. We wish you all could have been there.

After 2 hours there we rushed to the bus and headed for the Silk Market one more time (as I have said before, they sell a lot more than just silk there.) We were given 20 minutes and we ran all over those 5 stories, buying last minute gifts.

For dinner we enjoyed a delicious Peking Duck Dinner. It's the tradition of this program to save that meal for the end, and I think it was a meal we all enjoyed. It was a great way to end out trip.

I'm really sad to say that this trip is all over. Although we are all excited to get back home to our families and friends, and back to a city where it's easy to get food we really like to eat, we will really miss China. I think I can speak for the whole group when I say this trip has changed our lives and opened our eyes, and all of this happened together. I think we will always feel a close kinship with one another. For these past 2 weeks we've kind of acted like one another's families, and it will be sad that, to an extent, that will be over. But I can promise you, we will never forget WVU's Chine Trip, '07. It's been a good one.
Here is a group of students outside of the gate that leads up to Ming's Tomb.
Here we are actually in the underground Tomb. Behind this group you can see the coffins (I guess they would be considered coffins) of the Emperor and the 2 Empresses.
Here is nearly everyone at the beginning of the Great Wall Journey.
I love this picture. This is where the funny lunch story comes in. Our Tour guide kept telling us about this great lunch place we were going to. Then when we got there she insisted on us staying there for 2 hours. In our minds we knew that was way to long, especially with all we wanted to accomplish on our last day in China. Well, it finally came out that the reason why she needed us there for 2 hours is her company had signed a contract with this restaurant/factory for making Chinese artifacts, that they will give them a discount on the food if we stay there for 2 hours. Well, that did not go over well. After we finished lunch (which took about 1 hour), we all went and stood in the front of the store because the driver wouldn't open the bus door. Finally after 1.5 hours the driver opened the bus door and we went and sat on the bus for 30 more minutes waiting for the tour guide (she was obviously no place to be found, aka hiding). So the picture above shows exactly how we felt about the whole situation, especially after we were left with only 20 minutes to shop at the Silk Market we were all wishing we could have gotten that hour back. I will have you know that when the tour guide actually got on the bus we were all very respectful to her and didn't say a word, just like good Mountaineer's would do.
Another group picture a little further up on the wall.
A few fellow climbers.
A few of the boys hanging out on the wall.
Here is the group of the students that conquered the wall. We went as far as they would let us go, and then had to turn around. A few others made it the whole way, but they went the opposite direction as us, so they aren't pictured.
Just a quick picture of our dinner. It was pretty good.

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