Posted by: Gary Guertin | February 26, 2017

19. World Cruise – Xingang (Beijing), China – Feb. 21-22, 2017

Hi All, (Written Feb. 23, 2017)

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Yes, I made it, "The Great China Wall".  I have accomplished one of my top "Love to See/Do" list places. The list is getting shorter all the time, but this was certainly at the top.  It was something to see and I’ll cover it in detail below, so get ready for a long post.  It started the night before as we docked in Xingang with it snowing:

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We went out on the back pool deck and enjoyed seeing snow for the first time in years.  Many of the ships crew had never seen snow and later they even built a snow man, which Susy has a picture of but I can’t show you because of our lack of internet. While we are in China  they have blocked most everything including our TV channels, so we’ll catch up with the news in a few days after leaving here. 

OK, let’s start with my trip to the "Wall".  Susy did not go with me because it was an almost 11 hour tour, a 3 and 1/2 hour bus ride out and the same back.  Needless to say with the temperature at 26 degrees F. and she just recovering from a cold, didn’t want to take any chance on getting it back.  First the ship’s port sign:

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I got lucky on the tour bus with a front row seat:

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Here’s some shots out the window, especially the state housing apartment towers which are provided for the poor and working class people:

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Our tour buses at one of our rest stops (we had one about every hour or two):

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I have to stop here and explain a little bit about our day.  We were suppose to start the tour at 7:30 AM in order to be back about 6:30 PM.  Well in China when it snows they simply close all the freeways until they have them completely cleaned off, for safety purposes.  Consequently, we didn’t leave until about 9:30 because of the closed highways.  We finally, about 3:30 PM got to our lunch site, which was the "Beijing Dragon Land Superior Jade Gallery", one of the largest Jade galleries in all Asia.  They also had a huge dining room serving, as you will see, a wonderful lunch and then giving you an hour to tour their large showroom.  The entrance:

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The Dining room and our table:

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I was there:

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Now let’s tour the showroom and look at just a few of the thousands of pieces:

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That sign says the piece sells for about one million dollars:

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That’s it for the Jade Gallery, so it was on to my highlight of the day "The Great Wall", which was only a short distance away.  Let me just give you a brief history of the Wall.  First of all it’s not just one wall.  It started as a number of walls over 2 to 3000 years ago.  These walls originally were build to defend the various provinces or kingdoms which made up China today. Later most of the walls within the provinces were let go to ruins. However the walls along the Northern border were maintained and united to provide a defense against the raiding enemies from the North.  The wall runs from the ocean inland for about 5000 miles or as the Chinese say, the "10-Thousand-Li" Great Wall.  Two Li are about one mile.  The most important period for the Wall was from 1368-1644 during the Ming Dynasty Wall period.  The wall is divided in many sections, made of clay, earth, and stone.  It varies in width from a foot or so to in some places wide enough to drive horses and carts over it and is not just one wall, but in some places up to 5 walls wide.  As a defense it was a failure, because when the main portion was attacked from the north, traitors in the south just opened the gates and let the enemy go through.  Finally you should know that the wall has towers (usually 2 or 3 stories high) located within site distance of each other.  These towers were communication towers.  When the enemy was sited the soldiers would spread the word to the next towers by smoke during the day (wolf dung, which made a thick black smoke that went straight up) or lights or gongs in the night.  It was said that within a half day they could warn other towers over a distance of 300 to 500 kilometers. 

I took 170 photos over the day, the majority at the wall, I’ll just show you a few of the area we visited. From the bus as the wall comes into view:

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There are 4 major sections of the wall and this is the section we visited:

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Some views from different directions of the walls, communication towers, and citadels which today house museums, souvenir shops, cafes, and other businesses.

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Again, this shows I was there:

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Standing in front of this structure looking to the West from the valley:

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and then in the other direction to the East:

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and further back to the East:

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and lastly a close up of one of the communication towers:

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It was a long ride home, but the day wasn’t over because back at the ship we had dinner waiting for us and in the ships large theater a local Chinese theater group from Beijing:

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Lady drummers, who were great.  Below a group we called the Chinese Rockets with precision arm movement instead of kicks:

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Of course, the boys with their marshal arts moves:

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And finally, a pair of wonderfully costumed dancers that were excellent:

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I’m sure you have had enough. I know I was exhausted at the end of one of my memorable  cruise days which I will never forget.  As I finish this we have left Beijing and are heading for Shanghai, People’s Republic of China.  We arrive Sunday, Feb. 26th and stay overnight, so you’ll probably hear from me next after that, around Mar. 2nd or 3rd.  Until then,

Love You All,

Gary (alias Gagu)

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Responses

  1. dear gary and suzwe. every blog i try to send a comment but it won’t take my e-mail address. love your tour. have a great time. we miss you.. love, ilene and bob.


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