Mission to the Great Wall & Other Chinese Tales

From Hong Kong, we ended our adventures through Asia in its biggest country of all, China.  Starting with the city on Shenzhen, known for its large production of electronics.  Our first day was spent at the SEG Electronic Market and it was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before…

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Almost ten floors full of computer parts, chargers for anything, tons of fake iPhones, and USB drives disguised as Minions, Mickey Mouse, and Hello Kitty! Of course, I had to get a Hello Kitty one, a fun and functional souvenir.

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Of course, as foreigners we were quoted higher prices, but as we made our way higher up the building, the better the prices were… We were also pretty surprised by how little English everyone knew, since we were able to communicate with locals in Vietnam and even Myanmar.

As hectic as this market was, we had a great shopping experience at the OCT Harbour, where Fabian’s dad bought his newest drone at the DJI store, pictured below.

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After Shenzhen traveled by train to Guilin, known for its natural landscapes which are much like what we saw in Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay.

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One of my favorite days in all of Asia was spent walking through a quiet little farm village decorated in red lanterns for the beginning of the Lunar New Year, which had just passed before our arrival.

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Another area we had fun venturing through in China was the Ma An village in Guangxi, which made for a picture perfect day from land and sky.

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From Guillin we took a highspeed train to Beijing, and I should really mention how very special this train was.  Our first class seats were in our own private room, with spaceship-like chairs that rotated and had fold out television screens.

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We were also served two meals during our 10 hour trip and a box full of exotic snacks, such as vacuum sealed squids.

Once in Beijing we were able to explore tons of iconic places such as the Forbidden City, China’s imperial palace since the Ming Dynasty in 1406. Now open to the public, after purchase of a ticket, the city is more of a museum… But in our opinion the best photo you’ll take is of the front, across from Tiananmen Square.

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The next day we made our way to the Temple of Heaven, which is THE place you want to be.  There were such great vibes here, the natural elements were all well-maintained, tons of people were out playing sports games and participating in dance classes.  It was a happy place to be and the grounds are HUGE! It would be easy to stay here all day with a nice picnic, there was plenty to see and do.

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So this is the Temple of Good Harvests, with everyone Photoshopped out, and below is what the huge park areas right outside look like!

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Now the part you’ve all been waiting for, our mission to the Great Wall, so far we had taken a plane and a train to see it… but we still needed an automobile.  Originally we planned on taking a train to the wall but when we go to the station to learn all the tickets were sold out we had to go with plan B… Which was the hoard of drivers trying to coax tourists into their vans for a nice chunk of cash.  Our first driver tried cramming us in a tiny van with about fifteen other people but we weren’t into that idea… Once we found our way back to the station to where the last guy’s van was parked we found a nice little old man who gave us a great deal for the 45 minute drive to the Badaling section of the Wall.  That’s right, if you plan on visiting the Great Wall make sure you know exactly which area of the wall you want to see because there’s a WHOLE LOTTA WALL to be discovered.

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Oh, and be prepared to climb some STEEP hills, there was a point that I was even using my hands to keep stable while walking up some sections of the steps.  Going down didn’t exactly feel safe either, take advantage of the provided hand rails.

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Altogether, Asia was quite the experience, and now that we’ve made it to our final destination here I can’t believe that it’s over.  If you had told me a year ago that I would be lucky enough to see all these places, I probably would have just laughed in your face… Especially these world-famous monuments in China.  But now that I’ve seen them all on this adventure of a lifetime all I can say is that you’ll never know what life has to offer you, but when it gives you a chance, take it.  There’s a whole world out there full of culture and people that will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a different dimension; but the beautiful part is that no matter how different we all look or act, we are all one human race.

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