China: A Tale of Two Great Walls

In case you missed the last couple blog posts on our latest Year of Fun exploits, allow me to catch you up a little.  There’s some good news and some sad news.  First, the sad news: no more fresh coconuts or mangos for us.  After a solid two months, our time in SE Asia has come to a close.  No more sunsets over turquoise waters.  No more curry every night for Garrison.  No more fresh coconuts for Anna.  Did I mention we’re going to miss the coconuts?

But here’s the good news: our next stop brought us numerous unexpected delights, many of them in the the form of super tasty and amazingly affordable little pastries coming from the pastry shack around the corner from our guesthouse in Beijing.

Here's Anna after eating probably a few too many cream puffs.  No, wait, I meant not enough cream puffs.  Never enough!

Here’s Anna after eating probably a few too many cream puffs. No, wait, I meant not enough cream puffs. Never enough!

Yes, our next stop was Beijing, China.  Our worst fears included potentially finding out we didn’t like authentic Chinese food, that we wouldn’t be able to breathe because of air pollution, and that everyone would be rude to us because we didn’t speak Mandarin.  The air pollution turned out to be pretty bad, but….  Highlights included us realizing authentic Chinese food was actually very delicious, having 99.9% of everyone we interacted with be nice and/or helpful to us, being the main attraction in a bunch of locals’ photos at Tianenmen Square, and going to the Great Wall.

Which brings me to the title of this blog post, regarding the existence of two Great Walls.  No doubt you’re familiar with the Great Wall of China, built to protect the Chinese population from the constant threat of Mongol invasion.  Well, China has recently built and continues to maintain another humongous wall, the Great Firewall of China.  Due to this cyber-wall’s existence, all websites on domains such as facebook and wordpress are blocked in the entire country, thus effectively blocking Team Awesome from updating their adventure blog.  So, to all vicarious adventurers, one thousand pardons for the delay!

Enjoy a few pictures from our time in Beijing!

Goodness gracious.  The Great Wall of China.

Goodness gracious. The Great Wall of China.

Nature reclaiming the lesser used portions of the Wall.  I only went a few steps beyond the sign saying 'off limits'.  I wanted to go further, but I didn't.  Hopefully Santa Claus is back from his annual tropical vacation and has begun watching our every move again, 'cus this should count for like 20 presents!

Nature reclaiming the lesser used portions of the Wall. I only went a few steps beyond the sign saying ‘off limits’. I wanted to go further, but I didn’t. Hopefully Santa Claus is back from his annual tropical vacation and has begun watching our every move again, ‘cus this should count for like 20 presents!

The Forbidden City.  To paraphrase Homer Simpson, "Mmmmmmmmm, Forbidden City."  No donuts here, though.

The Forbidden City. To paraphrase Homer Simpson, “Mmmmmmmmm, Forbidden City.” No donuts here, though.

 

Meanwhile in Middle Earth, Smaug descends upon hapless Laketown...  (insert Chinese subtitles here)

Meanwhile in Middle Earth, Smaug descends upon hapless Laketown… (insert Chinese subtitles here)

 

Up next: Updates from the Trans-Siberian Railway as the Year of Fun takes the adventure up north!

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4 Responses to China: A Tale of Two Great Walls

  1. marian says:

    Have fun on the transsiberian railway and (don’t) drink too much vodka!

    • Thanks, Marian! 🙂 We’ve had a pretty good time so far. Pretty interesting at times…. 🙂 We’ll get some new blog posts up soonish. Hope you and Dani are still having a blast!

    • I think I understand exactly what you’re talking about, Lee. I didn’t necessarily feel this at the Forbidden City, but I know I’ve been places where the crowds were just too much to overcome. Mostly during our whole time in China, we really had to convince ourselves on a daily basis that the air pollution wasn’t ruining our experience. It’s hard to come to grips with reality sometimes when I’ve built something up in my mind to be so great and perfect.

      We loved the Temple of Heaven as well. Sounds like we had pretty similar experiences! I don’t know if it’s an every day occurrence, but there were large groups of Chinese people standing in circles and singing when we walked around. Pretty cool!

      -Garrison

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