Great Wall of China . The...
Great Wall of China . The Great Wall, (Wanli Changcheng) literally means the Ten Thousand Mile Wall, is a great fortification in ancient China. The section at Badaling is the most famous of all due to its proximity to Beijing City and condition of restoration. The imposing Badaling Great Wall climbs up and down, twists and turns along the high mountain ridges. It fully shows the lofty quality of ancient Chinese labor people.
Badaling Great Wall, with more than 1000 meters above sea level, occupies a commanding and strategic position. It is a defensive outpost of the Great Wall. It is called 'Bada' as it stretches in all directions.
Badaling Great wall was built in the 18th year of the Ming Hong Zhi reign (1505). The wall, built with high stone slabs on the outside, is 7.8 meters high on the average, some even reaches 8.4meters. The base of the wall was built with more than 2000 large rectangular slab of granite stones. It is about 6.5 meters wide on the average at its base and 5.7 meters wide on the average on the ramparts. The wall is wide enough for five horses to gallop abreast and ten people to advance shoulder to shoulder. The outside of the wall is called rampart wall. The rampart wall was built with bricks 1.7 meters high. Built for the purpose of defense, there are holes on the tip of the wall called watch-hole, and peepholes under the wall called embrasures. Inside of the wall, there are low walls with one meter high called parapets, which can be used as railings. There is a scroll door not far from the inside wall, with is a stone ladder for climbing up and down.
The wall is narrow on the top and broad on the bottom forming an adder-shape structure. This made the wall stands firmly on the rise and fall ridges. The wall was built with 10-14 rectangular slab of stones surrounding its outside, filled with soilsand stones in the middle, and paved with square bricks on the top between the bricks were stuck with lime stones. This makes the wall tidy, beautiful, and firm. There are gutters with gargoyles to drain rain-water off the parapet wall.
The landscape of Badaling Great Wall changes every season, with numerous scenery to catch your attention. A sunlit and enchanting scene of spring, with the valley covered with greens. When the rain from mountain comes, the vista will look vast and hazy. The sky in autumn is high with unsoiled stratosphere, while the maple forest is dyed in golden colour. White snow covers the whole scene in winter.
Spitting - a way of life
Unfortunately, it is not much fun to step on spit or hear the familiar guttural sound prior to spitting on the floor. This is a habit not only amongst Beijingers but throughout China.
Even if you sit next to a local, he or she can spit accurately not hitting your shoes. Some even use their shoes to smear the evidence on the floor - a normal reflex action.
For most Chinese in Taiwan, Hong Kong and elsewhere in Asia and USA, spitting habit has been more or less "eradicated". Hopefully soon it will no longer be a way of life in Beijing and China soon. But in the mean time, be tolerant. No harm done. I do not think a picture is necessary here.
If you feel like a bit of pampering and have a little spare time - treat yourself to a hairdresser's visit.
They are open till really late which is perfect and as it was very cold during our visit to Beijing it was so nice being pampered and not having to freeze whilst washing our hair under open showers!!
The Red Lantern House is located on the street where there seemed to have many hairdressers so we found one we liked - entered and although NO english was spoken - the treatment we received was like we were royalty - they were in awe of the Westerners hair!!
We were shown to lockers to place our belongings - coats, scarves, bags etc! The key was on a stretchy band that fits on your wrist like a bracelet and we were issued with silky gowns to wear during the treatment. The basins you lie into - it was heavenly and so enjoyable.
I had my hair washed and straightened - which is no easy feat as I'm a mass of curls
Nikki has her hair washed and straightened also - she has extensions in so it was really long
Adrian has his hair dyed and the total cost - 260rmbs for all 3 x treatments. That's less than AU$50!! I pay more than that just for me in Oz.
Have Fun Bargaining!
Panjiayuan Market is overflowing with Stuff. I couldn't believe how much Stuff you could potentially buy in this market. I especially liked buying pottery teapots and artworks.
Be sure you bargain hard. Bring a small calculator with you, to calculate how much you are paying in your currency, and to show the shop owner how much you want to pay.
Don't be afraid to walk away if you don't want to pay the price they are asking. You can always go back or find it at a different stall. Many times, you can pretend to walk away and they will re-negotiate a lower price with you. If someone offers you something at 150 RMB, offer 20 RMB. Settle for 40-50 RMB. The mark-up is really that ridiculous in the markets. Antiques, nick-nacks, pottery cups/teapots, Chinese art, wall-hangings, wooden carvings, jade (mostly fake in the markets)...
Still a great place
The decor is beat up, though some (including me) think it gives the place character. Great happy hour - half-price pizza and drinks - up to 10 PM. If you've had a few drinks and it's past midnight, this is a great place to load up on some carbs! The staff is extremely efficient and polite. Casual