Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Great Wall

We now know why we haven't been able to access the blog to post. Graham has sussed it for us, China has banned several sites including blogspot. He has very kindly offered to post them for me if I email the posts. Thank you Graham.

Saturday 16th October 2010

What a day! I'm clean out of superlatives. We were up at 6.30 to leave on our day trip at 7.30. There were the 4 of us and a Columbian girl in a mini bus. We went first to a temple - rather different to the usual temples but interesting all the same. We then went to a jade factory and saw the jade being cut and polished. Cath bought a lovely bangle but I declined John's kind offer on the basis that I am more likely to hit him for silk!

Then it was THE WALL! Awe inspiring, mind boggling and one helluva climb! I'm not actually going to say much about it; partly because I don't have the words to describe what it felt like actually to be climbing the Great Wall of China and partly because it is all still so new and fresh that I actually need time to reflect.
Now I have done 2 of the things I most wanted to do - see the Taj Mahal and climb the Great Wall. We went up by cable car which was just like the ski chair lifts. From there we climbed up and went down masses of steep stone steps. I was surprised at the amount of stamina I had to climb the steps. What I struggled with was the lack of handrail. With my defective vision and lack of perspective I was scared I fell.

Coming down you had 2 options. You could come down in the chairlift or you could toboggan down. No need to guess which option we chose! It was actually a bit disappointing. We didn't go as fast as we thought we would because some woman kept putting on the brake so everyone on the run had to brake also. It was still fun.Compared with devil carting in France the distance was about 12 times that. We bought the inevitable tee shirts then went for lunch.

Although much better I was still being kind to my dicky tummy so had mainly plain boiled rice. Poor Donnie has an even dickier tummy than mine ever was. He had nothing but bottled water. He had a really spicy dish last night which obviously took its toll. He said it didn't spoil his enjoyment of the Wall. I hope it didn't.

After lunch we were taken to a government sponsored training school to encourage the continuation of Chinese foot massage. The pressure points etc were explained to us while our feet soaked in infused water. Then students came and gave us each a foot massage. Ouch! None of the nice gentle relaxing massage. Having said that we did feel most invigorated afterward. Then a Chinese {Tibetan?}doctor came in and asked if we wanted him to look at the palms of our hands.From that he could diagnose any ailments we might have. His diagnosis of John was spot on. He need never take Western medicine again and would be completely cured for ever if he paid £900 for 3 months supply of special herbal pills! I think not! The strange thing was the he passed his hands over John's stomach and John had an incredible sensation of pins sticking into him. Whilst not putting it to the test with £900 we really wouldn't knock it. Donnie was offered a similarly expensive "cure" for an illness he doesn't have. Cath had an accurate diagnosis of what she takes medication for. He didn't look at my palms 'cos he was too angry that John didn't want to be cured!

On to the silk factory. I knew silk was made from silk worms but didn't know the process. Fascinating. We each bought a silk duvet for less than we would pay for a decent duvet at home. They vacuum sealed them so that they are not bulky. Look out steamer trunks! I wonder what the taxi going back to the station will be like! We really may need to consider two.

Last visit was to a tea house.
They demonstrated 5 different teas which we tasted. Frankly by this time we were just exhausted. It was now almost 7pm and we were all overloaded. Back at the hotel after 7.30 pm. It's been a very very long day. Donnie just wants to crawl into bed and sleep himself better. Cath had a good tuck in at lunch so John and I will dine on our own this evening. There is no internet access available at the moment so I can't even try to access the blog. Posting this will have to wait. Time to reflect now.

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