China - All trips begin with the Great Wall, Beijing, 2008

China has always been for me a difficult but fun trip. The more I thought about going, the more I decided that I needed to go business class. That is a story in itself that I can relate to you at some point but it took me nearly 30 phone calls, 120,000 frequent flyer miles, and a final change the day before I left in order for me to get there with some of the members of my group and to also go first class. It was worth it. A seat that folds flat into a bed, terrific food, and enough entertainment to keep you happy. The flight out was about 14 hours, and the return around 13. I actually got plenty of sleep on the plane.

Arriving in Beijing was pleasant as the air was very clean. Still there was smog but nothing like I had seen on some prior trips. We arrive in the afternoon and a quick dinner at the hotel and off to sleep for what you can get when you put up with a 13 hour time change.

Our first day was sightseeing out at the Great Wall and for me, it is something I never tire of seeing and the pictures this time came out great. Of course, clear skies and a sunny day help but the Chinese are really putting an effort forth to clean up the air around Beijing.  You see this in newer public transportation buses everywhere and far fewer mopeds, which are one of the most polluting machines on the roads today.
I never tire of seeing the Great Wall even though my knees keep me from going far, it is still wonderful to see, especially on a clear day like this was.
So, from here, now To the Friendship Cities Forum in Beijing and the Olympic Village.

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