The Great Wall and Ming Tombs
The Great Wall is China's greatest construction undertaking in 5000 years of history. To walk it, to see it, and to see people thronging over the wall and to see that wall stretching as far as your eyes can see is just overwhelming. When we got to the wall, the guides told us that we could take the path on the right ( top picture on the right with hundreds of people), or the path on the left which some say led to Mongolia. It was also a more difficult route but the pictures were worth it.
The great wall is today a construction work in progress. From these pictures, you can see it in great condition and this is after years of restoration work. In fact, in the picture directly above, if you follow the wall to the hills beyond to the right, you will see what looks like a wall and is in fact, a section badly in need of repair to the point it looks like just mounded rock.
The Ming Tombs is where for centuries the emperors of China were buried and what a magnificent tomb it is. Huge. But even better was from what I remembered of the walk to the tombs where the path is guarded by giant stone statues of generals, animals, and all sorts of strange beasts.
At the entrance, we saw this wonderful silk incense burner to be used as an offering to the Emperors.
In China and especially the cities, many people live in local sections of the city called "Hutong". We had a chance to visit one such Hutong and the people living in it. These are very close quarters but this type of living has been going on for centuries. They are all on the ground level but you will find to get them requires navigating a maze of tiny streets, alleys, and lanes. Mr. Lou is an artist and a very good one, his paintings were beautiful.
This was day four and the morning of day five of our trip all still near to Beijing. The Great Wall is just a short distance north and west of the city and so is easily accessable for residents. From the Ming Tombs, we took a visit of a Cloisonne factory to see how this metal work is done and it is beautiful to see. You start with a copper base metal, glue in the metal outline of the designs you want, and then fill the outlines with a stone powder and water mix of different colors. Bake on high and repeat as needed four or five times. Smooth with a wheel or grinder and polishing stones.

It is still warm here, temperatures in the 80s and 90s and very humid and hazy.

So, from here, now On To The Summer Palace and Xian.

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