Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Day 48 - Monday, April 2, 2018 - Tianjin, China - Day 1 - The Great Wall

Despite the fog, our Captain skillfully guided us into our berth at the Tianjin International Cruise Terminal on time at just after 7am. We were scheduled to be on tour for two days (overnight in Beijing) with Sam & Jon and met at 7:30 in Ocean Bar. Just after 8am the ship was cleared and we exited on Deck 3 midship to the sight of the Oceania Insignia moored behind us. There was a temperature check inside the terminal and just outside the terminal we met our guide, Ricco and our driver, Mr. Li.

The drive north went well for the first hour until we came upon the traffic stopped. And we sat there for an hour. Finally we started moving and Mr. Li took some side roads to get us out of the slow traffic. We skirted central Beijing, and made it to the area of the Mutlanyu section of the Great Wall which was a different section than what we visited last year. We stopped at a tourist area for a very nice lunch although the service was slow and Ricco went back to the kitchen several times to 'encourage' the cooks to work faster. It seems that our order was lost. We probably lost an hour waiting for our meal.  

When I learned that we were going to take a cable car up to the wall I was a bit disappointed as we really wanted to climb the Wall like we did last year. However, it turned out wonderful and the cable car ride was excellent while the views were a bit hampered by the smog and I do mean smog. At the top end of the cable car, we could finally see the section of the wall that we would be climbing. Initially there was a steep descent into Zhengguantai Pass. On the other side of the pass there was an even steeper section that Angela and Ricco immediately ascended. I stayed back with Sam and Jon, but after a while I climbed that steep section to the first guard tower. Angela and Ricco went two more towers higher and I waited for them before accompanying them on the way back and collecting Sam & Jon. After the ride down on the cable car, I purchased a "I Have Climbed Up on the Wall" tshirt. The vendor started at 280 Yuan and eventually settled at 110 Yuan or $17US.  

At lunch Ricco asked us if we would like to do anything that evening. He suggested the "Legend of Kung Fu" stage show for 280 Yuan or $45 per person and we all agreed that would be fun. So after the wall we negotiated the Beijing traffic to the Red Theatre and enjoyed the action packed history of how a young boy became a Kung Fu Master and eventually head of the temple. There was lots of Kung Fu action and narration in English and Chinese.

We finally made it to the Regent Hotel around 9:15pm and checked in. Angela and I wanted to go out and walk and see the area around the hotel, so we took off and found a Subway Restaurant on the 5th floor of a nearby office / retail building. We saw 4 Oceania busses parked outside so they must be staying here. It seems we hadn't had dinner because of attending the Kung Fu show. Finally, we were back at the hotel and were able to log onto the hotel's WIFI and use our VPN connection to be able to post pictures to Facebook and check messages and do other internet items.

And day 1 in the Beijing area came to a close at after midnight for me. It was a good day, but a 6:30am alarm was also going to come early and along with that new adventures. Stay tuned.

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