The Great Wall
The silk factory we visited on our way back from the Great Wall
Hello all.   Today was our last day in Beijing.  Tomorrow afternoon we take a short flight to Mylie’s province and settle in to meet her on Monday.  We were able to tour the Great Wall today and that was one of the most awe inspiring things we ever expect to do.  It is simply an amazing experience.  The day was very foggy and our pictures are only mediocre, so you may have to take our word for it.  It was beautiful!!

The wall is almost 4,000 miles long -- longer than the distance from coast to coast in the US.  It was not built at any one time, but was intially built by regional kingdoms for their defensive needs.  It was then later unified.  The earliest known part of the Great Wall was built in the 7th centuries BC, but most of what us tourists see was built in the 16th and 17th centuries.  It is estimated that some 1 million Chinese people worked on the Great Wall.

We paid about $10.00 each to take a cable car up the mountain.  We thought it was a very bad sign that the window also said insurance could be purchased for 1 yuan (approx. 15 cents).   We are still not sure if that was a joke or not!  

Dave was thrilled when he learned that instead of taking the cable car down, you had the option of a 5 minutes speed toboggan ride down the mountain.   Unfortunately, we ended up behind the world’s most cautious woman and the ride took a more snail like approach then what we had hoped for.  
Saturday, Oct 6th
Dave and I are both small town people, so the shock of any big city never leaves us feeling very comfortable, and Beijing is no exception.  While we enjoyed the experience;  all of the sights, sounds, and bustling for a while, we cannot say we are unhappy to get to the next stage in our journey.  Namely, meeting Mylie!!

The Beijing we have seen is a very odd mixture of new, bright and shiny set right next to old, ramshackle, and worn down.  The colors on the buildings are allowed to fade, windows rot, and the grounds grow astray, all of the while  beautiful new skyscrapers are being built right next to them.    From what we have read, Beijing has torn down and rebuilt almost 7.55 million meters of old apartments since 2001.   There is not a spot that we have seen in Beijing that is not undergoing this kind of transformation.   It is a sight to behold.

Something neither Dave nor I truly understand, is that many of these run down buildings do not seem old, merely completely untended.  It is as if once a building is built, it is never touched again.  Many of the run down buildings appeared to be structurally very sound, but there had been no upkeep in the past 20 years old.  We hope that all of these beautifully new buildings do not meet the same fate.

We are off to Nanning tomorrow,

Love Kris and Dave
These buildings are right next to each other.
There are 15 million people in Beijing and 9 million bicyles.  During the 2008 Olympics the Beijing people will not be allowed to use their cars.  They must use either bicycles or public transportation.
This is called the Tower of Power -- it is really as tilted as it appears in this picture.  It will house Chinese National Television and is schedueld to be done before the Olympic Games.  
This picture does not do these buildings even remote justice.  They are amazing.  The one if front that looks like a bunch of bubbles is the Olympic Swimming Center.  The building in the background is called the "Bird's Nest"

This is a link that shows better artists drawings of both: