August 17


We went to visit a huge jade and jewellery market, and then the Beijing
portion of the Great Wall of China today. This is a historical structure, and this particular 
portion is located some 60km from Beijing, and was built around 1505. The wall
is on average 7.8m high, a meter or two wide, and crawls along some
magnificent mountainous terrain. The Great Wall is the only man made structure visible
from the moon and served to protect the kingdom from northern invaders in
the old days. The portion we visited consisted of uneven stone steps going
up a 45 degree hill, and had watch towers built at approximately 500m
intervals. Climbing up those stairs was a real killer and only a few of the
members of the group made it to the first watch tower. Apparently Vincent
went a lot further up than the rest of us would dare. Most of the mommies
were carrying babies and this made the climb even more treacherous.

After breaking for lunch we returned to the hotel in the middle of the
afternoon. Some of the women in the group discovered an outdoor market
nearby and went bargain shopping for clothes. They discovered that many name
brand goods seem to "fall off the proverbial truck" here in China and
enjoyed bargaining for Tommy Hilfiger, GAP, Polo, etc. They seemed to enjoy
the bargaining even more than the stuff they bought. They've vowed that
they're going back again....look out wallets!!