Sunday, July 15, 2007

Glen's Far East Explorations

Literally the day after we got back from our family trip to Boston I (Glen) got on a plane bound for Asia. It was mostly a business trip with stops in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, and Tokyo. I had previously been to all of those cities except for Beijing, so I planned the trip so that me and my work associate that was travelling with me (Rick) were able to spend the weekend in Beijing to have some time to see some sights. Our colleagues in Beijing went out and hired a professional guide to lead us around some of Beijing's most famous landmarks and it was fascinating (let me know if you ever need a guide in Beijing - ours was great)!

Our first stop on our site seeing tour was to visit the Great Wall of China. I thought I knew what to expect with the wall, but I was pleasantly surprised at how breathtaking the scenery was there. The Wall was initially 3,800 continuous miles long, but over time, the entire wall has not been taken care of adequately on now, only sections are able to be walked on. The section we went to was about 1 hour outside of Beijing and is the main section tourists go to. We didn't see a lot of rain on our trip, but when we got to the top of the hill the Wall is on, it was absolutely pouring! The first 30 minutes we were there, it was just torrential downpours with very low visibility. We were disappointed because we could tell the view was spectacular, but we couldn't see it because of the mist/fog. However, after hiking the Wall for awhile, the rain stopped and the mist/fog began to lift. The view was out of this world! I would highly recommend taking the opportunity to go visit the Great Wall of China if you every get the chance - it is stunning.

Me and my colleague Rick on the Great Wall after the rain had died down and the mist began to lift. You can see we are soaked from head to foot, but it was a spectular experience and well worth the hike to the top of the hill!

Our next stop was to the Forbidden City. The Forbidden City is right in the heart of Beijing and used to be restricted to only the emperor and his servants. It is enormous and extravagant. The Chinese government has opened about one third of the Forbidden City to the public now and when we were there, it was amazing how many native Chinese people flocked to the City. We were the only westerners there that we saw. The people really embrace this city and seemed to be fascinated with the history that is found there. The other two-thirds of the city is still restricted, but is not used by the emperor - only government appointed historians are allowed in that section to conduct research.

Me and Rick outside the gate to the Forbidden City. The water is the moat that used to protect the city. The architecture of the building in the background is consistent with the architecture of most of the buildings within the city.

Our business trip went very well, but it certainly was a highlight to visit these very unique places. It is very interesting to visit these foreign lands and see how differently other cultures live. I have many more pictures of our weekend ventures, drop me a line if you'd like to see more and I'd be happy to send some more pictures. Most of them are from the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, but there are some additional pictures including Tianamen Square.


Aitch said...

I was jealous before, but after seeing the pictures I am even more jealous!

I might have to make China my next big trip.

rosanna said...

Your blog makes me want to go to China. Thanks for sharing.

I do want to see more pictures of your trip.

AnnaLisa Renee Crain said...

i'm also jealous you got to go to china. i'll have to talk with heather about her taking me with her when she goes.

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