Visit The Great Wall of China

I saw Michael Jordan at the Great Wall!

Well, if seeing The Great Wall of China weren't enough for one day, how about seeing one of the all-time sports legends of the United States at The Great Wall?! What a day!

 Lift to Wall
 That's me in one of the funny little
 carts that take you part way up the
 Wall to a point where you can start
  climbing for yourself.
 Me at The Great Wall.
 Yeah, me again with the Wall rising
 up behind me. 
 Steep climb
 It's one thing looking up at the Wall; 
 it's another thing looking down. 
 Some women wore high heels for 
 their climb. Really!
 Unused portion of The Great Wall
 Here's an unused portion of the 
 Wall.                                                              
My son, Kris, and I visited The Great Wall near Beijing. There are several places you can gain access to The Great Wall, and I'm sure hundreds of different tour packages to see The Great Wall. Friends told us of places that were off the beaten path, where you could do some heavy hiking and explore parts of the Wall alone.

But I really wanted to get the full flavor of the tourist version, so we went on a tour bus that took us to a popular part of the Wall.

I don't care who you are, visiting The Great Wall is a strenuous exercise. Imagining the warriors who guarded it and climbed it each day -- heck, imagining all the merchants who sell their wares on the Wall climbing it each day with all their tables and souvenirs was mind-boggling. Because this is NO EASY CLIMB! Some of the steps are two or three feet high -- no joke! And some are just three or four inches. So you could never get a good rhythm going. And the steps go on and on and on.

Never mind that we took little carts part way up the Wall to get started. No doubt the warriors of ancient China days had no such luxuries.

Yes, there are all kinds of merchants at the top of the Wall selling souvenirs for ridiculous prices. I wanted a heavy piece of metal that had some historical information engraved on it along with a carving of part of the wall. It was packed in a nice little red box. The salesman wanted to sell it to me for $20 US. I asked Kris to haggle with him, but Kris showed me a table where they were selling the exact same thing to Chinese nationals for $5 US. Ahhh, so I looked like a sucker, eh? Kris bought me the $5 one.

And when we got to the bottom of the Wall, we were practically forced to buy a certificate that said "(Your Name) climbed The Great Wall of China on (the date)."

As we were waiting in the tour bus to leave, the people in the bus (all Chinese) started buzzing with excitement, and gawking out their windows. I asked Kris what they were so excited about, and he said it sounded like there was some dignitary visiting the Wall. Finally, people started getting off the bus and running back toward the Wall. Kris joined them. He finally came back just long enough to tell me that Michael Jordan was at the Wall. People were going nuts. Kris went back to try to get video of him, which he did.

Pretty exciting day, all in all. Just another adventurous day in China.

 Michael Jordan at The Great Wall
Yup, that's Michael Jordan looking up at The Great Wall of China. You can see how much taller he is than the people to the right.

 Crazy for Michael
This guy went absolutely berserk after seeing Michael Jordan. He must have heard that Michael was going to be there; he dressed for the occasion.