Day 1: The Great Wall & Other Explorations

I woke up around 12:30 am and immediately regretted falling asleep so early the night before. I struggled to go back to sleep but managed to squeeze in a few more hours of sleep before I had to get up.

Breakfast at the hotel was so good. They had American and European breakfast foods available as well as typical Chinese breakfast foods. I loved having noodles for breakfast, and my favorite part of breakfast was the steamed pork buns.

Before leaving for the Great Wall, Liliana took some people to the bank across the street to exchange American cash for Chinese yuan. One hundred dollars turned into 603.04 yuan.

When we got on the bus for the day we met our tour guide; we all could call him Uncle Joe. Uncle Joe was awesome. He told lots of jokes on the bus and talked about some Chinese history as we drove to the Great Wall. We had a family style lunch before heading to the Great Wall.

I really went into the Great Wall thinking that I was at least somewhat prepared for the 70 flights of steps to come. When I was in high school, I took the steps up the Eiffel Tower; in college, I lived in Sutherland Hall and dealt with the Chevron steps/Peterson Event Center steps all year. But boy was I unprepared. The sun was beating down on us as we began the climb. The winding path seemed to go on forever, and the worst part was that there was no end in sight. I couldn’t even see the wall until the last flight of stairs.

When I finally made it, the view was amazing! You could see for miles, and the wall was beautiful. I took so many pictures at various points. There was a small building covered in paper where people wrote their names, and a friend and I wrote ours down, so now that will be there forever which is cool. We explored the Great Wall for an hour and took so many pictures, but they could never compare to actually being there. It was incredible.

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Instead of walking down 70 flights of stairs, we took a toboggan down which was so cool. It was like a super long luge; it was so fun sliding down through the trees. I left the Great Wall, very sweaty and very happy.

When we got back, we had the rest of the day to ourselves. Some of us went and had dinner at this place in the mall. We had to point at pictures of food and ended up getting six different dishes for the seven of us, and we ate family style like all of our other meals. After dinner we just wanted to explore the city and find “the Time’s Square of Beijing”. We stumbled across a cute bakery, and I really wanted an egg tart. I bought a loaf of this bread/croissant like thing to split with a friend and what looked like an egg tart. The egg tart was actually a cheese tart; it was still good. I wasn’t mad about it, just slightly disappointed. We kept walking in search of what we liked to call “the hub”, and we took group pictures in front of fancy hotels just because they were cool. We never quite found “the hub” of Beijing; in total, we ended up walking 4.74 miles around the city. In the end, it was just a fun time of exploring with new people.

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