Today was only our second full day in China and to say the least it was sureal. ?There are times when I have to stop and remind myself where I am. ?That may seem strange. ?In fact it sounds rather loony. ?Not sure why I have to do that, but I do. ?Maybe I thought it would smell different or sound different. ?Who knows.
We’ve had two excursions thus far. ?The Great Wall and the whole helluva lot of walking we did today.
I’ll start with the wall.
Somehow in my mind (don’t ask, it’s a scary place) I had envisioned that you would drive somewhere, get out and there would be the wall. ?All the photos I’ve see have The Great Wall way out in the open. ?I’m sure that there are places where that is the case. ?Not where we went to see it. ?Oh no buddy, not in the slightest. ?We went to the “mountains”. ?They weren’t big mountains, but when you have to walk up them they sure as heck are.
We climbed and climbed and I huffed and puffed. ?Did I mention how humid it is here? ?Srsly! ?About 1/4 of the way up I thought I was going to die. ?1/2 way up I thought I had. ?We climbed stairs for what seemed like and eternity. ?I guess Buddha did teach that the path to enlightenment is through suffering. ?When we got to the top it was worth every agonizing step. ?It is amazing. ?I’m not sure how to describe it actually. ?The section of the wall was in a mountainous forest. ?So we were perched up above the trees. ?There is, of course, the constant haze, but that added to the beauty. ?I was thankful I made it.
Today we rode the subway to the Llama temple (and the Confuscian Temple since we got there early). ?At the Llama Temple there are hundreds of people there for prayer. ?There is a prayer station and then a temple with a Buddha or a Llama. ?As you went through each temple the statues got bigger and bigger. ?Finally we came to a Buddha that was eighteen meters above ground and 8 meters below ground. ?It was carved from a single trunk of sandalwood. ?It was awe inspiring.
From the Llama temple we traveled to the Forbidden City. ?Talk about immense. ?I was on a scale that I couldn’t imagine. ?There are 9999 rooms in the city. ?There were throngs of people. ?The best way to describe it is CRAZY! ?I could try to describe it, ?but I can’t. ?Partly because by the time we got there I was so tired and partly because it is hard to put into words.
To say the least this trip has been amazing. ?The people are lovely, the city is quite clean and we are having a wonderful time.