Great(er) Part of the Wall

 June 15, 2011

Today was our one day to play tourists. 

We visited the Badaling section of the Great Wall just outside of Beijing (it is a steep but fun climb to the top and a much more scenic section than the Juyongguan Pass we visited last year).  We then had lunch at a jade factory (ie total tourists trap), visited the famous Silk Market in the afternoon and attended a performance by the Beijing Acrobats.

I especially enjoyed the climb up the Wall, mostly because it now felt like I was walking it with friends.  A friendship I do not take for granted.

Frankly speaking, we are an unlikely group. Our backgrounds, where we live and varied ages would not normally place us together, never mind together in China. And I have been the odd team member without prior connection to anyone here. 

Yet we have shared an intensely emotional experience over these past weeks and it has (as these things tend to do), bonded us in a truly special way.

It took a while to warm up, to feel accepted, (for me to learn everyone's name) but today was fun and finally it felt like I was among friends.

Team Chen Zhou: (top left),  Christy, Megan, Tim, Francine, Elyssa, Amy, Makenna, Lori, Shannon, (bottom left),  Tammy, Carmen, Shawn, Katie

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The long climb UP the wall.
Looking very "touristy"
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