on January 9, 2005
If there is only one thing you see while in Beijing, it has to be the Great Wall of China. You can see thousands of photographs of the wall, but the true magnificence of it will not hit you until you see the wall that seems to have no end in person. I cannot imagine being one of the many laborers who had to build the wall over a thousand years ago, without the kinds of technology we have today. Day after day, hauling stones to the wall and fitting them together, so many died, and many are thought to be buried in the wall.
My group only had an hour to explore the wall, so I only went to the second lookout, but the view was amazing: countryside in all directions. Climbing the wall can be hard with all the steps and crowds. Chinese tourists wanting to take pictures of you can really slow you down. The two male African-American coaches on my trip did not get farther than 20 feet from the start because so many people wanted to take pictures with them.
Of course, before you leave, you can buy T-shirts and keychains saying you climbed the wall for very cheap. People in my group bargained the sellers down to $3 per shirt and two keychains for $1. Some found bargaining with the sellers to be great entertainment.
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