Great Wall Bejiing, China

China – Bejiing – I need a Hero, and he’s got to be fresh from the fight!

Yes those are some of the immortal words of Bonnie Taylor but was she really speaking about “The Great Wall of China”? Chairman Mao proclaimed that any person who wanted to be a real hero must climb the Great Wall. I can tell you that after climbing “The Great Wall”, I sure can relate to what Chairman Mao said, but back to the original point.

Now think of the words that Bonnie Taylor has in her song. Now let’s quote some of her immortal words and take a closer look at them. Let us look at these words,” I need a Hero, I’m holding out for a hero, ’til the end of the night. He’s gotta be strong and he’s gotta be fast. And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight”.
It is obvious that she needs a hero and he has to be strong and fast and also fresh from the fight. Hmmmm, now she is going to wait til the end of the night also. Now what could be the meaning of these words I ask you…Of course I ask rhetorically of course because I am going to tell you what they mean. I just wanted you to think about it it for a second. Ding times up.

The key is the context to think about these words. Now if you had heard what Chairman Mao said above and had in fact, like yours truly, [insert a smug look on my face here], had climbed The Great Wall, well everything would just fall into place. Let me save you some time now and succinctly state the meaning as clearly as I can, because it is only one that has been enlightened by the climb that can see it so clearly.

Bonnie was talking about waiting at “The Great Wall” for her guy to come back a hero from climbing the wall. He has to be strong and fast to be able to endure the challenge of climbing The Great Wall. Enduring that climb is what she is referring to as the fight. And, now this will toast your noodle, she is only going to wait until morning for him to do it.

She, Bonnie, must go for wussy guys or something because it didn’t take me all night to climb it and return – oh no not me. To give her and him, whoever he is, the benefit of a doubt, perhaps he didn’t start the climb until the late afternoon and underestimated what it actually takes and she was growing impatient waiting in the dark for him. We may never know exactly what her situation was that inspired her now immortal words.

But now you know the true story – believe it…or not.

Great Wall Bejiing, China

Great Wall Bejiing, China

Xi'an Terracotta Warriors

China – Xi’an – Terracotta Warriors

Xi'an Terracotta Warriors

Xi’an Terracotta Warriors

What a truly amazing site to see! The whole place is really set up to be a contained tourist trap around the pits where the Terracotta Warriors are. Even at that it is worth the time. I should explain that rather harsh statement too.

Once inside the gate, you need a ticket for about 110 CYN you will see a few places to buy souvenirs and there are places to buy stuff in each of the “pits”. Back behind Pit #1 there is a restaurant. If you go on a tour through a company and lunch is included this will be the place you will eat at. Food is good we thought too. All over the grounds there will be people selling sets of the miniature versions of the Warriors. So far doesn’t it sound like you will be followed outside the buildings by people wanting you to buy things; then each building has a store and don’t forget the stores that are standalone selling stuff too. Believe me shopping is not a problem there.

Now the guys that are selling the sets, and they do everywhere, do sell pretty cheap. You just have to negotiate with them. Our guide steered us away from buying any from these guys. I guess he did that because he took us to a factory store. I can tell you though these guys do give pretty good deals if you want to get something for gifts and not have to pay the store premium price. But it is street goods so you have to watch what you buy.

Pit #1 is the one that you see when you see a picture of this place and there are other pits you can go through but if you want to see the other pits – go through them before going to Pit #1. Now that seems strange you are thinking. It would seem like going through them in order would be the best way. Well, you can do it that way if you want, but I wouldn’t having gone through them. Pit #1 is the best; I think you could spend a couple hours in there taking pictures if you had the time. There are other things worth seeing in the other pits but it seems like they don’t have the impact pit #1 has. Another thing to keep in mind is we were there on the off season and there wasn’t as many tourists there. I can only imagine what it is like during peak season.

There is an ok overview film in the theater the guides usually have you watch before going to the Pits – it does give you a sense of what happened and why no one knew about them. But I am not going to spoil that surprise – oh no not me 

Hong Kong – Sitting at the dock of the bay

Well not really exactly what the title says…

We are actually sitting in the lounge at the Hong Kong airport and trying to catch up on some of the blogging while we wait for our flight. So I thought I would put this little note in here in case you think some of these blog entries aren’t exactly in order, cuz they aren’t.

We have been so busy that we haven’t had time to keep making timely entries. After all we have been touring around and have been joined by some friends too. So at the end of the day we have to sit around with a glass of wine or something and discuss the events of the day.

Now perhaps you can understand the grueling schedule we have been under while over here. It is hard work being a tourist…

We have had to deal with the “Mongolian Express” in Beijing. Ok I will explain that phrase.

It was about minus 3 zillion degrees Celsius the day we went to the “Forbidden City” and the wind was approaching gale force. In hurricane terms it was approaching a level 5, just to give you a scale to compare too. Everyone was dressed in as much warm clothes they looked like colorful penguins waddling around. They would have been over dressed for the Ididarod we were at in Alaska earlier this year. But not I, no I dress for what is needed, nothing more, nothing less. I had a t shirt with a long sleeve shirt over it, buttoned of course. The shirt was black and had that “Territory Ahead” look if you know what I mean. That would have been fine except for the wind. I happened to have a light wind breaker along that fit into it’s own pocket and took it out to break the wind, hence the name. But there was no need to zip it up as it was for blocking the wind and nothing more.

If bunny boots would have been available our little troop of penguins would have been wearing them for sure. But not I, no not I, for me it was sandals, with light socks of course. What a sight we were.

The group of Penguins going through the Forbidden City all huddling together waddling through and listening to a tour guide fill there heads with trivia they would never remember. As I, your roving reporter, in true Alaskan form, broke the trail for them and snapped some of the most fabulous and memorable pictures that have been ever taken in the Forbidden City.

But I digress… My main point was to let you know just a hint of the extremes that have been endured during this trip. At least now that we have a few moments to reflect on the trials and tribulations we have had to deal with. That is while sipping a glass of wine in Cathay Pacific’s First Class Lounge. They have respect and know how to treat a travel warn passenger like us

Floating Market

Thailand – Floating Market Food

Floating Market

Floating Market

One of the places we visited was a floating market that we seemed to be about the only white people at. It was way cool. Look at this picture closely.

Just off the picture to the right were many rows of people waiting for food and eating food that was / is prepared by these boats. What I wanted to show here was the boats and what is being cooked and how.

If you look closely you will see at the bottom of the picture a lady grilling whole scallops in the shell midway up you will see a lady grilling whole squid or calamari. Another detail to take note of is, under the sign you see what looks like a plate or pan with a long, very long, rod attached to it. Do you know what it is for? Tic tic, time is up… They place the ordered food into the pan and use the stick to give it to the people that ordered it. They in turn put money in the plate for the person that cooked the food. The young lady you see sitting down facing the boats helps in that process also.

If you haven’t noticed already…on the boats are tanks of propane used to cook with or, they have charcoal for the grills to cook the food on. Think they could do it that way in the states? I don’t think so, but it is so very common here. We like it.

Boarding Pass

China – Airplane Boarding Verification

Boarding Pass

Boarding Pass

Let me set the stage for the above picture. You are boarding an aircraft for a flight in China. They have given you the boarding pass and in the picture you can see a portion of it in the background. What they did In this case was give you that yellow card as you walked out of the building toward the plane. When you arrived at the steps up to the plane there was a Chinese military looking guy checking your boarding pass and taking the “Boarding Verification Card” from you before letting you board the plane.

You are thinking cool, good idea someone could have forged a boarding pass and walked on the plane, but not with the card right? Now look at what the first part of what is in parentheses says. Let me quote it for you so you don’t have to strain your eyes, what a guy huh. Ok this is what it says, “Showed together with the boarding pass”. I am ok with that because that is exactly what we did and then they took it from us. They didn’t let us get to know that little yellow card, but maybe that is ok too. We might not wanted to part with the little fella if we had gotten attached to it. So to speak that is. Ok let’s get back to the yellow card.

Let me quote the last part of what it says, “and retrieved under the aircraft”. What exactly does that mean? Does it mean that we got them under the aircraft? Because if it does, that clearly did not happen, we got them both when we left the building. What do you think the meaning is?

Could there be a secret meaning to the words on the card; something like playing a recording backwards? Or, and this is the most insidious of all, is this a diabolical plot with communistic intentions, intent on taking over the world, and starting with this little yellow card? Bet you didn’t see that one coming did you. I didn’t think so. You be the judge, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.