Written and posted March 5th, 2018
Sputtering, the coffee, sweet milk, sugar, and boiling water drip into my cup, the size of a toddler’s. It’s my 5th cup of the day and it’s only 7 AM. I add a couple pork buns and watermelon to my plate and that completes my breakfast. I am still full from dinner and the Hot Pot yesterday.
Bundling up, two sweatshirts and a jacket, I head to the bus to start my day. Stepping off the bus I am greeted by an intricate archway to the Summer Palace. As we enter, an older group of people are practicing Taji with a ball and racquet. Our group joins in, but we are not able to keep the ball on the racquet like everyone else. We walk through the Summer Palace that looks over a lake and a mountain with a Pagoda on top. Everything is so beautiful, no wonder the emperor stayed there for most of the year.
Freezing, we rush to the bus, excited to experience a tea ceremony. There are five different teas, oolong, black with lychee, rose, fruit, and jasmine. The person leading the tea ceremony pours the hot water into the mug, leaves swirling around in the midst of creating a delicious drink sliding down your throat and warming you.
My ears pop and mountains flash by as we pull up to the entrance of the Great Wall of China. As I step off the bus I see the long stretch of wall that is more expansive than my line of vision. I begin to climb, my legs burning after only 50 steps. I didn’t think I was that out of shape, but the almost vertical incline has me winded. When I reach the top I feel victorious. The view is spectacular. I am able to see the vast wall and mountains, struggling to tell where and if they end. After taking in all this beauty I finally begin my dissent. While it is terrifying and I slip down it more than I walk, I make it to the bottom still in awe of my accomplishment and the wall itself.
After dinner, we head to a local market and street for shopping. There are so many stores and restaurants. While I want to buy everything there: egg waffle cones, matcha ice cream, churros, crepes and more, I only buy milk bubble tea. The streets are still busting, but it’s getting late and we have a flight to Xi’an tomorrow. Taking the subway back along with all the locals we reach the hotel and check-in for the night.
See you tomorrow!