3:30am...I slept for 8 hours!!!
We met our guide in the lobby at 7. We booked a tour through the hotel front desk, we planned the Beijing part of the trip on our own and then go with the travel plans through our agency once we get to Chengdu. Sherry, our guide, was full of info. We were together with a French couple, an Australian couple, and a man from Northern Ireland. We went to the Ming Tomb first, there were a lot of similarities to Egyptian history. A lot of the artifacts had been destroyed during the cultural revolution, so they are actually replicas. The tomb itself is several stories underground and made completely out of jade. It was extensive and amazing to see the amount of preparation for essentially 1 man's burial.
Then we went to the Jade factory, got sales pitched, left, drove to the Great Wall. We went to the Mutianyu section. We lunch with our group and it was delicious...I would have loved to have eaten there again:) Then we took the cable car up to the wall, the steps are not part of the wall just to access them so we wanted more time on the actual Wall, plus it was in the 90's. When I say cable car, think old ski lift(no seat belts, no enclosure) which went up quite a ways to the Great Wall. Our guide showed us the hard side and the easy side and recommended the easier side. It was over 90 degrees, extremely humid and DH and I were sweating, so of course we picked the hard side because it was up further and looked cooler! It was steep and we went through several guard towers to get to the top one. How many times are we going to walk on the Great Wall of china? Exactly! We were drenched, and everyone else was sweating, including the Chinese visitors. The only ones who acted like it was easy were the children who scampered around like little mountain goats. It was awesome and breathtaking. Wow! The boys would have loved it...in cooler weather.
We drove back, visited the silk factory, escaped the sales girls who kept telling DH he would be the king of our home if he bought a dragon silk comforter!
We ate a quick dinner at a local restaurant with a picture menu and went back to the hotel. They set off a light and fountain show at the park across the street, which we can watch from our 25th floor room.
Tomorrow we are flying to Chengdu and are scheduled to meet Min on Monday. I am excited and concerned for her. It is going to be such a big change for her and I am praying for her comfort. I have felt your prayers and am so grateful for them. So far we have been safe and healthy and blessed with peace to be able to enjoy our time in Beijing and our children at home are safe. Thank you.