Emily: Great Wall and Great Food

Today was a special day because we got to visit the Great Wall! It was a bittersweet departure officially leaving campus and all of the other delegations – we were especially sad to say goodbye to our wonderful translators. We reached the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall early in the morning and began our long climb upwards. It was a pretty rigorous climb that featured over 1,500 steps according to a tour guide I overheard, and I definitely had to pause a few times on the way up! However, the view at the top was spectacular and we felt very accomplished upon reaching it. I absolutely can’t imagine what it would have been like to be a guard on the Great Wall and to have helped build it. On the way down, we saw a Burger King at the entrance – it’s interesting to see how pervasive western culture is in China, particularly in the form of American chain stores. Afterward, we made our way to the hotel, which is very nice inside! All of us were starving, so we made our way to a huge mall with many restaurants inside. There, we found a Japanese restaurant where I enjoyed a comforting bowl of ramen. To top it off, I bought a delicious cup of lychee green tea! After filling our bellies, we visited a somewhat overpriced foreign book store where we bought these really neat handpainted name cards for our teachers and friends. For dinner, we went to an authentic local restaurant upon the suggestion of a hotel employee. It did not disappoint! We were able to share dishes such as lamb flatbread, lotus root, and bean curd. On the way back to the hotel, we stopped by two convenience stores to load up on more gummies and snacks. I feel very fortunate to be able to visit all of these important cultural sites in Beijing and try authentic cuisine – it will definitely be a trip to remember! 

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