Visiting DouDou

Posted by on Jun 22, 2012 | 2 comments

Visiting DouDou

1 May 2011 After our morning of shopping at the antiques market, we had made plans to meet DouDou for lunch. She had chosen the place, which was a sushi restaurant. DouDou is very shy and unassuming, and takes a while to warm up to people. On the other hand, she knows the city very well, has impeccable taste, and a very generous spirit. She loves being a tour guide and sharing her favorite spots with her friends. We met outside the restaurant. The place appeared to be very popular, and we had to wait quite a while for a table. When they finally called us, we were taken upstairs to a...

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Journey to Yangbai Village

Posted by on Aug 14, 2011 | 1 comment

Journey to Yangbai Village

24 April 2011 We started out on Sunday feeling very stiff and sore, after having spent more than seven hours climbing on the Great Wall the day before. I was feeling a sense of excitement and anticipation, though, because today we would be embarking on a very special journey. I was finally going to have a chance to visit Yuan’s village in rural China, the place where she grew up and where her family still lives. The plan was to spend several days out there, and return to Beijing on Thursday. Yan, who had been with us for that grueling hike on the Great Wall, had generously offered to...

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Great Wall of China (Part Two)

Posted by on Jun 20, 2011 | 3 comments

Great Wall of China (Part Two)

23 April 2011 So far we had been on the wall for less than an hour, and seen a lot that was memorable. The climbing continued to be very strenuous. Up and up for long, steep stretches, struggling for every foothold, then down and down the other side, stumbling and sliding over the loose gravel. Then up again, then down again. It was very draining. We soon found ourselves running out of water, but fortunately our tour guides supplied us with more. Along the way people were selling bottles of water as well. I fully expected them to be charging a small fortune, given the supply and demand...

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Great Wall of China (Part One)

Posted by on May 30, 2011 | 0 comments

Great Wall of China (Part One)

23 April 2011 We got up very early on Saturday morning. Today was the day we were going to visit the Great Wall of China. But we weren’t going to one of the normal tourist destinations, and competing with the usual throngs of visitors. We wouldn’t be walking on one of those sections of the wall that has been restored and made to look brand new. Quite the opposite, in fact. We would be travelling to a remote, mountainous area, climbing up to the top of the ridge, then hiking along a length of the Great Wall that is mostly in ruins, as it rises and falls across the rocky...

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Interlude

Posted by on May 22, 2011 | 2 comments

Interlude

I’ve been back home in California for a week now, after spending an entire month in China. While I was there I took thousands of photos, which I am still sorting through, and so far the blog only covers the first week of our trip. I am back to working full time, which doesn’t leave much energy to focus on writing. But fear not, I will continue posting about the rest of the trip in the weeks to come. There is still a lot to cover, including our trek to a little-known section of the Great Wall; spending a few days in the village where Yuan grew up, in rural China; visiting my...

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