Category Archives: Travels

Nihao China

Last October we took a voyage to the other side of the earth — yes, CHINA.  And what an amazing experience it was!

IT was a grueling journey spent in airports and on planes — about 23 hours from our door to the hotel bed in Beijing. Not to suggest that we were able to sleep once we got there, because that would definitely not be correct!   Beijing is 13 hours ahead of Minnesota, so it would be pretty hard to throw off our internal clock any worse than that.    Honestly I hardly slept the entire time we were there and have never gone so long with so little sleep.   But somehow the excitement kept us going through guided tours in both Beijing and Shanghai.

View from Huangpu River
Pearl Tower Top
Wende and Ethan at Pearl Tower

We loved the Huangpu river cruise — the Shanghai skyline is like Vegas on steroids.  We also visited the Pearl Tower during the day.  My nephew (who speaks Chinese) helped translate between an Italian family and the Chinese tower guard.  The family was so appreciative that they shared their VIP tickets which got us an express elevator to the top of the tower.  What a view!

One of Ethan's "Photo Shoots" in Tiananmen Square
One of Ethan’s “Photo Shoots” in Tiananmen Square

We learned that it’s somewhat unusual to see a light-colored American child walking around the streets of China.  My son Ethan, age 10, got a LOT of attention.  I mean, he was enjoying celebrity status — all the locals lined up to get a photo with him everywhere we went.  I’m not kidding, it was everywhere we went.  Ethan and his cousin both attend a Chinese Immersion school and speak mandarin, all the more novel!

Ethan at the Top
My Son Ethan on Top of the Great Wall

We experienced so many interesting things, but my favorite memory of all was the view from the top of the Great Wall — the most peaceful and serene view I’ve ever beheld (see the cover photo at top of webpage).   Lucky for us the pollution cleared on the day we visited the Wall.  We climbed at JuYongGuan Pass and were told there were 2200 steps to the top.  Yes, it felt like 2200 steps.

Finally, the Top Tower (no, really, it is)
Finally, the Top Tower (no, really, it is)

You can only see one or two towers with each leg of the climb, so we kept thinking the next tower would be the top, but it wasn’t.   It just kept going. But the view from the top was definately worth the exertion, truly breathtaking.

My son will be going back to China in a few years on a school field trip, but this was likely the trip of a lifetime for me.  I’m grateful for having had the chance to go!