People are getting hurt in Beijing and our teachers are worried about us. I’m having a hard time finding articles on it, but our teachers told us yesterday - yes, we had class on Sunday, had to make up for the nine-day vacation we’re about to have to celebrate the sixtieth – anyway, told us today that a few foreigners have died over the past two weeks and that we should be careful!
Wish I had the whole story, here is some of it. And here is some more. My friend, Johnny, told me that his teacher told him to get out of Beijing.
No worries, there are plenty of gigantic tanks with soldiers holding mammoth guns around…I feel safe enough.
Scare or no scare, people are ready to party. There’s a lot of nationalism going around, and even our teachers are showing pride.
Flags are hung outside of homes all over the city
Friday, our grammar teacher made up the sentence, “Wo jue de Mao Ze Dong liao bu qi. (I think that Mao Ze Dong is praiseworthy.)”
I want to update on the Great Wall and the hutongs, but I’m having a hard time writing about my touristy adventures. I’d rather post pictures of babies and Chinese flags. So, here are some photos from my recent walks around Beijing and on the Wall. (Really, I don’t want to show myself on the Wall because I was sweating like a sick cow in Saudi Arabia (it gets to 132 degrees in the summer there!).) There really is so much to say about both the hutongs and the Wall. I really enjoyed the feeling of being there – consummating my wish to see these thousand-year old (or more, or less…) structures that used to have real relevance and use for various dynasties over the past 2000 years. I must say, the Great Wall was inordinately, fascinatingly, breathtaking-ly, mindblowing-ly, distressingly, and unfathomably long.
The view from the top of a steep portion of the Wall
It just curled and rose and twisted and extended forever (around 5,500 miles, actually).
Baby on the wall!
Interestingly, and maybe not so safe-ly, there were many children climbing the Wall. Bolette and I did the walk together and were stopped many a time for a picture with a baby. We also stopped just to play with some of the kids (and also to catch our breaths).
The touristy flavor was also really amusing. The hutongs had bookstores that featured both Obama’s works and Mao’s. Notebooks that featured sexual acts lined the bookshelves, but so did notebooks with images of Communist propaganda (commentary or what?) and ancient sayings. The Great Wall was magnificent, but clearly a mammoth structure that needs to be tended to at all times – workers were carrying a large piece of timber (I think) up a steep slope while we were there,
Laborers of a sort carrying a heavy block of metal up the wall
and we spotted six others laying down stone for a new addition to the easy walkway back down to the ticket area, where one can find a KFC and a Starbucks
waiting for your arrival. My friend, Mechal, happened to find a touristy spot in the form of a bear attraction. I have a video clip of him throwing apples to these bears; you can only see the bears if you take a roller coaster down from an area of the Wall to a random zoo. The file is too big for the blog, but I’ll try to edit it and post it soon.
Apparently, everyone must touch the Wall when you reach one of the uppermost portions, so I have a bunch of pictures of me touching the Wall with Bolette, with Mei Mei, and with other friends. Many Chinese tourists also touched the Wall, and thought it would be fun for Bolette and me to take pictures with them touching the Wall, as well. I didn’t get any shots of this, but I did get one of a really happy family just after they touched!
There were many victorious moments on the Wall and it was really fun. But I think one visit is enough for this trip. Some people are thinking about going back to sleep on the Wall (yes, on it), but I was fine with my free two and a half hour excursion there.
Random note: In addition to my bout of heat exhaustion at the Wall, my computer has been working on overdrive, too. I had to delete a ridiculously new and angry Trojan off of my computer today (thank you CA anti-virus technicians) and do a system restore of my computer. So, I’m happy to say that my computer is up and running as well as it was on August 30th, 2009.