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PADDY'S CHINA TRIP
BEIJING DAY 4-Great Wall of China

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April 23, 2011.  One of the highlights of our trip was The Great Wall of China. Built in the 5th. century B.C. by the Ming dynasty, its purpose was to repeal the intrusions by various nomadic groups. It's approximately 5,500 miles long, with an average height of 33 feet and a width of 11 yards.

                                                            

On the way there we could glimpse portions of it high on the mountains. We entered through one of the numerous gates along its length, a place called Badaling.

 

                       

                    

    

The Great Wall is amazing. Wherever we looked,  we saw it, long, wide, and winding. A large number of people were walking on it. At regular intervals there were towers.  We started our hike among throngs of tourists. It was a hard walk and steep climb, even with the help of handrails installed along the way. After walking less than a mile, I had to stop, because even with my trusty cane to help my balance, I was exhausted. I stopped to rest next to a look out point, and next to me you can see the view from one of the Wall tops.

 

         

Next stop was The Ming Emperors' Tombs. A seven kilometer (4.5 miles) road, named The Spirit Way", lined with animals and guardian officials, leads into the complex. The Two Pats stand in front of one of the emperors' statue.

 

              

                   

The animals along the way are in pairs, one resting and the other one standing. It was felt that in this manner, there would always be an alert one no matter what the time of the day it was. Paddy is petting an alert camel.

 

                   

We approached the tombs at the end of the "Spirit Way" through the Red Gate, which is the entrance  to the area where the tombs are. The Stele Pavilion, is actually a pavilion with a double-eaved roof. It has entrances on its four sides, and inside a stone stele with an inscription of over 3,500 characters. Its base consists of a giant turtle.

 

         

On the tombs grounds there are many marble sculptures. And two columns, called wangzhu in Chinese. They are hexagonal, carved with a cloud design and with tops shaped like a cylinder supporting a stylized figure.

 

                   

                   

         

Later we went to see a performance of the Peking Opera House. We saw performers applying make up and admired their costumes. We listened to some musicians and watched dancers perform. The costumes were very elaborate. The singers sang in tones unfamiliar to western ears. The stories were very convoluted, although written synopsis were provided on a screen. The villain was apparent, but Chinese opera is not my cup of tea.

 

Next day we went by rickshaw to see the hutongs, (neighborhoods) of Beijing.

 

 

 

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