At the top of the other second side, which was a considerable distance farther up, we asked one of the dozens of people congregated there to get a picture of the two of us. That was with Jason's camera, and we have not swapped pictures yet. But there was a section of wall that led off down another route ...
After Jason and I had our picture taken, the gal who took it asked to get a picture with us. That started a flood of people posing with us, and had it not been for the fact that we had about ten minutes to get back down the steps and slopes and head back for the bus, we could have been in a few dozen more shots!
One thing that surprised me about the Great Wall was the lack of uniformity in the stairs. They were made more difficult to climb and descend because there was no uniform height from step to step! Also surprising was how much traction we still had even with the rain. It was a pretty cool feeling though, standing on the Wall I've been hearing about since I was a kid. And although the photos may not be of the long Dragon snaking it's way through the mountains, the misty, rainy day added a sense of drama and mystery that would have not otherwise been possible.
The Great Wall was also the first clue spot in 'Big Bird goes to China', and now I could tell the Boyo that I had seen the Monkey King and been to the Wall!
This was the second clue in the video, and like the Monkey King, was a major find, as instructed by the Boyo! I knew he'd be thrilled to see me with it. And he was.
All along the way there were two pairs of animals, one set sitting, the other standing. Jimmy explained that this was done because, according to legend the pair that is sitting during the day stands up at night, and visa versa. In this way, no matter what time a royal funeral procession goes by, there will always be a pair of creatures standing at attention for the Emperor.
This led to a very fun idea. I showed the following pictures to my son, and said to him...
"Here I am, telling the camel, OK camel... STAND UP!"
Yup. That's me riding a horse that was carved out of a single piece of marble before my country was even a country.
Then it was out the Dragon and Phoenix gate...that's right... a gate that had the Phoenix Bird on it! It was like I was IN the Big Bird video!
Which is a duplicate of the Imperial Palace in the Forbidden city. Except this one housed a museum full of artifacts from the tomb. Being inside was amazing, as it was HUGE!
And there was a giant statue of Emperor Ming Yongle himself!
Also, between the staircases here, and at the Imperial Palace, and The Temple of Heaven, and all of the other Imperial places we would visit, were these huge marble carved reliefs featuring the Dragon/Phoenix motif!
That dish in the middle was particularly good, although we couldn't figure out what the meat used was. (Don't even think of starting the cat or dog jokes, because in these westernized places that wasn't even an option)
The Duck came and we were told that a skilled chef can carve a duck into 140 pieces. These are then placed in little egg wraps with some delicious sauce and a shallot and eaten like an egg roll. I loved the sauce. Still not so fond of duck.