Today's Alarming Statistic:
The number of cars expected to be sold in China this year – a 90 percent increase over last year, putting China on track to surpass the U.S. as the world's biggest auto market.
Wow - hope all those will be electric cars or I can't see how China is going to seriously participate in anti-global-warming measures!
Only two more days until we see Drew! He will probably be ready for a long rest when he returns to the USA. He nearly suffocated in Prague due to his throat closing up because it was so swollen! Had to go to the hospital and have his tonsils drained (gross!) We are lucky to be seeing him at all. We spent a few days wondering if he would spend all his time in Beijing at some quarantine facility, but he's apparently healthy as a horse now and ready for some duck blood soup.
I took a guess at miso yesterday and made a yummy miso soup. It may not have actually been miso, but it was soybean paste with bigger chunks of soybeans and dark brown. It made a good soup, whatever it was!
Much Much Later ...
Sorry about the silence - I took time off. I've been busy hanging out with Drew. It's so nice to have another human to speak with!!! He leaves tomorrow morning and we are going to seriously miss him - WE NEED ANOTHER VISITOR IMMEDIATELY!
I guess the favorite thing we all did over the past eight days was climbing the Great Wall at Simatai.
I have seen pictures of it all of my life, but actually climbing it - being there - was breathtaking. I even had a moment of sobbing inside one of the towers. I couldn't even believe that I was there. First that I physically could climb it (it's steep!) And second that I was standing on one of the great wonders of the world and the only man-made thing that can be seen from outer space. It really was overwhelming. This is looking back at the starting point:
We were on the wall by 8:00am which was fantastic because we were nearly the only people there. We left Beijing at 6:00am by hired car - a London style taxi so we could all fit. It cost 900 Yuan for the day which comes out to $26/person. So worth it! Here are the girls in the cabbie:
At the entrance to the hiking trail we met this guy sweeping the path.
Eric took the picture
but he feels so tall here and Drew towers over everyone!
The hike up was surreal - very few other people and a gorgeous day. Here are the pictures - judge for yourself.
We spent four hours on the wall including having a short lunch that we brought along and a beer on the way down. There are merchants along the way every so often with beer, water, and ice cream.
We started off and it got steep immediately.
There were 13 towers to the east of our starting point and that direction was rumored to be the most beautiful and also the most difficult so that's the one we chose.
One of the highlights was at the very end of the hike - way up there where they posted a sign saying "Danger - don't go any farther" or something like that. By this time crowds were getting thick and Greta and Ivy were swarmed by teenage girls wanting to get their photo taken with them.
Greta and Ivy accommodated everybody and then all of a sudden they all swarmed Drew! It was like he was a rock star! They all had to have their picture with him next and Drew took it all in stride. In fact he mentioned that this was "just another day" to him!
About 20 minutes up
the hill from the parking lot is a zip line. We saw it on the way up and of course, Greta announced that she wanted to zipline down at the end. Ivy wasn't so sure, but she had four hours to convince herself. It wasn't running or manned when we passed it, so we weren't even sure it was available and working. Given the small stature of the Chinese, Drew definitely had second thoughts about it. And you don't even have to ask if I was tempted. Surprisingly, Eric also opted out (I'm sure he was just being sweet and didn't want me to hike the rest of the way down alone!) Here they go!
The Great Wall Rocks. I'll post this and tell about the rest of Drew's visit next time.