Ah, but I slept like a rock last night. This morning, we were downstairs at 9:00 to meet Mary and her husband to drive to the Great Wall of China! Mary's husband is also a guide and was just as wonderful as Mary: friendly and very knowledgeable.
We went to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, which is slightly less touristy than Badaling section where the tour buses go. It's about a two hour drive from Beijing, so we had some time to chat with our friendly tour guides.
We arrived at about 11:00 a.m. and walked up past some souvenir stalls to the ticket desk. To get up to the top, you take a "cable car." Actually, it looked more like a ski lift to me.
So pretty, right?
Approaching the Great Wall . . .
We started our walk . . .
Chinese graffiti. Looks prettier than graffiti at home. Points for anyone who can translate.
More pictures. I took over 100 photos. Turns out I am turning into my mother with the camera. Sigh. :)
We went inside the rooms where the guards used to sleep. Here was someone's view back in the day. I guess it'll do.
The doorway out of the guards' quarters.
Josh and the Wall.
After climbing all over the wall, we had worked up quite an appetite! Time for lunch!
I cannot remember what these things are called (even if I could, Lord knows I could not spell it), but I think they may be Josh's new favorite food. Made out of flour, they taste like white bread squished up into a firm ball and then boiled. Some are then deep fried. The dipping sauce in the middle tasted like butter and sugar. Josh ordered a second plate all for himself.
After lunch, we went to the supermarket to pick up some snacks and breakfast food. We haven't eaten breakfast the past few days because the hotel is so expensive ($4 for a croissant!) and we have slept too late to go to a restaurant or cafe.
First thing's first: Diet Coke!!
Milk . . . in bags!
After the supermarket, we arrived back at the hotel so Josh could take a nap at about 5:00 p.m. By 7:00, we were back on our feet, headed out to Wangfujing and the Donghuamen Night Market.
The streets were pretty crowded. (Apparently, we were not the only people with this idea.)
There is a KFC on almost every block in Beijing. It is more common than McDonald's.
Our next stop was Donghuamen Night Market for a little street food. The night market stretches down one side of the street for approximately two blocks. It was packed with mostly locals and is a place to hang out and get some interesting grub.
Candied fruits on a skewer. (Note: almost everything in the market is on a skewer!)
On the way to the Great Wall today, Mary's husband joked that "we Chinese people will cook and eat anything and everything!" I can't back that statement up, but I will say there are many more options, and they seem to be far more adventurous eaters! Here is some of what we saw:
Silk worms on a skewer, ready to munch on while you walk.
Stinky tofu (which is fermented tofu and definitely lives up to its name).
Squid, ready to be cooked and eaten.
(Not actually sure what this is, but it looked good!)
Some kind of crabby lobstery crustacean on a skewer.
More insects, waiting to be eaten right off the stick.
Silk worms and centipedes. ("Hello! Lady! You want centipede? Delicious centipede?")
Josh and I opted for vegetable dumplings, noodles cooked in chili oil, corn, and fruit. All of it was delicious, especially the noodles! (Sorry, no snake or scorpions today. I am not ruling it out for tomorrow, but I think I need to psych myself up.)
If some of this food seems a bit out of the ordinary to you, listen to this. Earlier, Mary's husband was telling us that the following items are extreme delicacies in China and only the very rich can afford to indulge in them: monkey brain (half alive, which made me think of Indiana Jones), camel foot, and bear paw. (I think I would actually like to try bear paw.)
After all this, we're pretty beat. It's almost 10:00 p.m. here, so I think it's time to call it a night and rest up for tomorrow. For our last day in Beijing, we are going to Beihai Park, Summer Palace, Lama Temple and the opera in the evening. More soon.