China 2005

Our next day was to the legendary Badaling Great Wall and Ming Tombs. On our way we stopped at a Jade Factory. Just look at the exquisite carving of the ship in jade, the very beautiful red jade bowls (405.00 each CDN) and the carved flowers. This was but a tiny bit of what they had. Bet you thought that jade was just green, but if you look at the pictures you will see many different colours of jade as they call it here. I picked Tom up a Jade Dragon while here.

You see pictures of the Badaling Great Wall - Construction of the Great Wall lasted for more than 2,000 years, from the state of Chu in the 7th century B.C. to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and it ran through more than 20 feudal kingdoms and states ruled by dukes or princes. If all the sections built in various historical periods were put together the Great Wall would be more than 50,000 kilometers long. These pictures are nothing compared to being in the presence of this place, imagining what it might have been like seeing 5 men abreast on horseback clicking over the stones as they came racing towards you, or ten men across in full armor walking with tall spears. Now these men were not that big and when you consider the pitch of these walls and the steepness of the steps, I for one cannot fathom how they did it. It nearly wiped us out just walking up and down - yes, even down was a challenge because those steps are not equal in height. I hope the pictures I have taken give you a bit of an idea how steep these walls were. I am not complaining though because it was such an experience to be here.

See the dragons? This is from Steve, 'Since the dragons or lions at the gate are always facing south, we can only define the left and right when we are also facing south. So male is always on the left while female right.' The male has his paw on the world and the female has her paw protecting her cub.

On our way to the Ming Tombs we stopped at a cloisonné factory where we got to see how it was made. I didn't realize all the steps involved and was very impressed at the amount of time and effort that goes into making it. The Ming Tombs were equally impressive when you consider that this is a huge area that has only two tombs open to the public. The Changling Tomb inhumes Emperor Zhudi, the fourth son of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang. It had a huge Buddha along with 32 equally huge posts supporting it. Each one of those is an entire tree over 1000 years old. I also took a few photos of clothing and headdress and one of arrows in a colourful case.

Dinner this evening was a traditional Peking Duck meal sponsored by CNTO and CITS at the Quan Jude Roast Duck Restaurant. Traditional with thin pancakes, a dish of tianmianjiang and scallions, it was delicious!






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