72 Hours in China

China is home to one of the greatest ancient civilizations of the world. Its long, colorful history and distinctive culture warranted its place on our list of countries to visit, but the value of experiencing its antiquity propelled it to the top.  There is nothing more compelling than the thought of setting foot on the Great Wall of China and looking into the timeless eyes of a terracotta soldier.

The girls and I scheduled a quick, objective based trip to Beijing. We spent three days flying, walking, climbing, and tramping to and around our destinations. By the end of our journey, our muscles ached and our feet throbbed, but the euphoria of seeing some of the world’s greatest treasures soothed the pain.

Day 1 – The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China was built more than 2000 years ago, during the Qin dynasty (221-207BC). It is a fragmented series of fortifications that spans across the northern borders of China. It took hundreds of thousands of workers, and ten years, to build the structure. We visited the Mutianyu section of the wall. It is known for its spectacular views and Ming-dynasty era watchtowers. This part of the wall has been, and continues to be, rebuilt, but it is still an "engineering triumph."

The Great Wall of China was built more than 2,000 years ago during the Qin dynasty (221-207BC). It’s a fragmented series of fortifications that spans across China’s northern border.  We visited the Mutianyu section of the wall, which is known for its spectacular views and Ming-dynasty watchtowers. This part of the wall has been, and continues to be, rebuilt and enhanced, but it’s still an incredible sight to see.

The wall was incredibly steep in some areas, and required a little stamina to make it from watch tower to watch tower.

Several sections of the wall are incredibly steep, including this one.  It requires quite a bit of stamina to hike from one watchtower to another.  These pictures fail to show the overall grandeur and beauty of the Great Wall.

Ally and Kylee standing on the Great Wall of China.

Ally and Kylee standing on the Great Wall of China.

This has to be the strangest juxtaposition that I have ever seen - a Subway and Baskin Robbins, located

This has to be the strangest juxtaposition that I have ever seen.  There is a Subway and Baskin Robbins located directly below the entrance/exit to the Great Wall.  To make it even stranger, loud speakers were belting out the sounds of the Bee Gees for everyone to hear.

After hiking the Great Wall, we ate lunch at a traditional Chinese restaurant.  Located in a small village between the Great Wall and Beijing, it proudly serves donkey.

Our tour included lunch at a traditional Chinese restaurant. Located in a small village, the menu is influenced by the availability of local crops and animals.  The predominant ingredient on the restaurant’s menu is donkey.

After lunch, we went to a spa for (much needed) foot massages and reflexology treatments.  The girls enjoyed the "cupping" portion of the treatment the most.

After returning to Beijing, we went to a massage parlor for much needed foot massages and reflexology treatments. The treatment included fire cupping, which is an ancient Chinese form of alternative medicine that uses suctioning to increase circulation and promote healing.

Day 2 – The Terracotta Soldiers (Xi’an, China)

We flew to Xi'an, with a day trip tour, just to see the The Terracota Soldiers.  It is one of the most significant archeological finds in history.  These soldiers and horses were created and buried to guard and protect China's first unifier, Quin Shi Huang, in his afterlife.   The Terracota Soldiers are amazing works of art.

We flew to Xi’an (on a day tour) to see the Terracotta Soldiers.  The imposing army was created and buried to guard and protect China’s first unifier, Quin Shi Huang, during his afterlife.  It is one of the most significant archeological finds in history.  This picture was taken of Pit 1.  There are more than 6,000 life-size soldiers, standing in Qin battle formation, in this pit.

The most interesting thing about the soldiers is that no two are alike.  They have artfully detailed facial characteristics and expressions that give them a personality.

The most interesting thing about the soldiers is that no two are alike. The artisans who carved them, skillfully detailed each face with unique characteristics and expressions, giving them their own personalities.

The girls were able to meet Hui-Min Yang, the farmer who unearthed pottery fragments that led to the discovery of the Terracotta Soldiers.  In 1974, he and two other farmers were drilling for wells when they made the historical discovery.

The girls were able to meet Hui-Min Yang, the farmer who unearthed pottery fragments that led to the discovery of the Terracotta Soldiers. In 1974, he and two other farmers were drilling for water wells when they made one of the world’s most historical finds.

After seeing the Teracotta Soldiers, we enjoyed a dumpling lunch at De Fa Chang.  It is more than 100 years old and is now owned by the government to preserve its.

After seeing the Terracotta Soldiers, we went to De Fa Chang for a traditional dumpling meal. This restaurant is more than 100 years old, and is now owned by the Chinese government for the purpose of preserving its history and extending its longevity.

Shopping in Mosque Quarters.

After lunch, we walked through Muslim Quarter.  The Great Mosque, which quietly stands in the middle of the square, is surrounded by restaurants, shops, street vendors, butcher shops, and sesame oil factories.

Day 3 – Beijing

Tinenman Square

This is a picture of the girls at Tiananman Square.  Our self-guided tour took up most of the morning because we couldn’t find our way out of the heavily secured area.  Even though Beijing hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics, very little English is spoken or used in China.  Even signs in and around the city are only written in Chinese.

Shopping in the street markets.  This is where the girls practiced their bargaining skills and bought most of their treasures.

Our hotel was located in the heart of Beijing, so there were a lot of opportunities for shopping, including various street and night markets.  Dong Hua Men Night Market was one of our favorite spots.  It is where the girls practiced their bargaining skills, bought most of their treasures, and sampled some of China’s unique cuisine.

These are live scorpions on a stick.  I have a video of this scene that I will post when we go off site (the internet connection is too slow to do it here).  As soon as the girls saw them, they had to try them!  They are grilled and salted.  In all honesty, they are pretty good!

These are LIVE scorpions on a stick.  As soon as the girls saw them, they knew that they had to try them. After choosing the scorpion studded stick that they wanted, the street vendor grilled and seasoned them for consumption.  In all honesty, those little critters were quite tasty!

Ally taking a bite of scorpion skewer.

Ally taking a bite of her skewered scorpions.

Kylee taking a bite of her skewered scorpions.

Kylee taking a bite of her skewered scorpions.

There is an old Chinese proverb that states, “He who returns from a journey is not the same as he who left.” Journeys of every kind – long or short, near or far, relaxing or chaotic – are life changing experiences. They alter our perspective, challenge us to try new things, expose us to the unexpected, and teach us new skills. Our trip to China was no exception.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to 72 Hours in China

  1. Claire Williams says:

    I’m glad you had such an amazing trips. Ally and Kylee are no sissies when it comes to trying new things.

  2. rania says:

    wow!!scorpions!! these pretty girls are so tough
    I miss you ladies tons!

  3. Yesim says:

    I love seeing photos and recaps of all of your adventures! The girls look like they are having the time of their lives. Miss you!

    • Kriste Rose says:

      Hey,Yesim! So good to hear from you! The girls are having the time of their lives, but they miss their lives in Arizona, too. I hope all is well in Evergreen. I’ll call you when we get back to site, and we’ll catch up!! I miss you, too!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s