Day 5 - Beijing - Silk Rugs, Great Wall II, Olympic City
First stop today was a silk rug factory where we saw three styles of 100% silk rugs--those woven tight, tighter and extremely tight. Even a 12"x12" square was over $200, and the best ones were over $6000. Unlike Madeline Albright, Maggie Thatcher, and a couple of US presidents whose pictures were on the wall, we deferred from buying one! Still it was interesting to learn and see the process, and the beautiful rugs. The picture below is the same rug viewed from two sides. Notice how in one direction, light is reflected and in the other direction, it's absorbed. Kind of a cool effect.
Next stop, an hour later was the Great Wall at Badaling. The weather was perfect today, sky was blue--a rare occurrence, and there was a light breeze. It was, as we knew, more touristy with many stalls and souvenir shops, but not too bad. Actually there were also not a lot of foreigners, but tons of Chinese tour groups there. We climbed several difficult sections, actually without steps, just uneven stone paths which made it more difficult. Lucky for us, there were handrails on all the steep sections. Hubert gave us a running commentary on all the history and dynasties of this period.
We had extra time before lunch and Wendy did some shopping at the store where she got a beautiful ring. Supposedly, for an incredible price, but they probably all say that...
Back to Beijing, and a stop at Olympic City. Plenty of pictures of the Bird's Nest, the Water Cube, and the ambiance of the place. It was quite lovely and very modern, although we didn't go into any of the buildings.
Our dinner this evening was at a Uyghur (pronounced "wee-gur) restaurant. This is a group of people who are a Muslim and come from the western part of China. The food is more Turkish/mid-eastern. The lamb dish was incredible, there was also some special bread, as well as about 8 other dishes.
Tomorrow we leave the hotel very early to get our flight to Xian, home of the Terracotta warriors.