You know what is ridiculous and cool all at the same time? A giant toboggan down from the Great Wall. And no, I am not making this up, much as I wish otherwise. There is actually a giant luge-like thing that you can ride from the top all the way to the bottom. The guy in front of me was quite the Sunday driver... S-L-O-W-P-O-K-E. Miss O kept trying to gun it, but we couldn't very well run over the nicely suited Asian man without causing some sort of international incident.
There’s also a cable car to take the sissies up to the top of the wall, but I’m apparently a horrible mother and made my child use the Number 11 Bus (as our guide calls it) to walk all the way up. We might have climbed somewhere in the neighborhood of 9,531 stairs – and whoa, do my thighs hurt – but it was amazing up there. We went to the Mutianyu section and it was nearly deserted – just us, a few other tourists, and all. those. steps. I wish I could have captured in pictures what I actually saw, but that seems impossible.
Meng had told me to eat the “farmhouse food” around this part of the wall, and our guide took us to a place that had some of the most fantastic food I’ve ever had. There was a roasted/barbecued golden trout freshly pulled from the water, some sort of local vegetable that may or may not have been a weed or part of a chrysanthemum, kung pao chicken (no celery!) and tofu + meatball soup. Our guide and driver ate with us and we spent the meal grilling her with all the random questions we had. I felt quite bad for the driver – he doesn’t speak English, so I’m pretty sure that lunch must have bored him to tears. However, since he hasn’t yet killed us over the last two days, I’m glad we could at least buy him a meal.
We spent some quality time (and, um, RMB) at cloisonné and lacquerware workshops. First of all, I had no idea cloisonné was actually copper and not porcelain. Learn something new every day… Second of all, the lacquerware? OMG. These women start with a form and coat it with at least a hundred coats of special paint. They then remove the form and begin hand-carving the details. These things are so incredibly intricate – multi-dimensional with the tiniest of details. It can take a year to make a single piece, which blows my slightly ADHD mind. I’m pretty sure I’d lose interest after about 42 minutes.
Miss O was in a great mood today and even braved the squatty potty. Granted, she gave up after a minute and went in the regular stall, but man, I love that kid for trying.
I think the jet lag finally (FINALLY) hit me today. I am so ready for bed and it’s still early yet. Can’t even muster the strength to go find dinner.
Speaking of dinner, remember my difficulty ordering sparking water last night? Well, today our guide tried to order it and even she had a hard time explaining what we wanted. HA. I feel so vindicated. I think that, all things considering, my boiling (iow, bubbling/sparkling) water coup last night was pretty impressive, thankyouverymuch.
I leave you with this very important message: