Today, we walked up 70 flights of stairs to the Great Wall!!! My heart was beating so fast all the way up, it felt like I had been sprinting. It was all worth it when I saw the first piece of the Great Wall. We got up there in about 20 minutes. The scenery was unbelievably beautiful and calming. There was nothing but mountains and greenery for miles. The Wall curved and bent so far into the distance. At some checkpoints there were little caves that felt so cool and windy. There was just so much overwhelming beauty and history to take in.
To compensate for our strenuous journey up the Great Wall, we got to take toboggans down! It was like a mini self-controlled ride. I had never heard of them before this trip, so it was great trying them out. It really was a once in a lifetime experience.
Later during the day, my friends and I ventured out to find some dinner. Our other friends advised us to go to a specific restaurant called Ba Douji, but we struggled to find the entrance. A waiter from a different restaurant saw that we were lost and ushered us into his restaurant. He quickly brought out free appetizers and led us to a table. We didn’t plan on eating there but everything was happening so fast. Next thing we knew, we had iPad menus and aprons around our bodies.
In the style of the restaurant, you are supposed to order a sauce in a hot pot, then order other food items like meat or chicken to cook in the sauce. However, we couldn’t decipher the sauces or the system of the restaurant. To make matters worse, none of the waiters could understand our questions and our translating apps were not working. We realized how much the language barrier restricts communication. They kept on bringing more free appetizers and we didn’t know how to stop them.
Eventually we decided to leave the restaurant and even that was a struggle! The workers kept trying to make us to sit down and try the food and it was difficult to break loose from their coercion. We decided to all get up at the same time and try to push our way out of the restaurant. I hid behind my hands because I felt like a fool. We left a tip to cater for the free appetizers and bolted out.
Then, we finally found our way to Ba Douji and got ready to order. The waiter came with a translator and we ordered in less than 2 minutes. It was so seamless! While waiting for our food, a waiter from the first restaurant found us in Ba Douji and returned our tip. I guess they felt bad. We ended up eating really well at Ba Douji and were able to preserve our pockets as well. We also learned to be more prepared when going out in a different environment. All in all, it was a great first day out!