Today’s post is going to be short and sweet as we are so tired after our big climb. We started out bright and early with an hour-long drive to the Great Wall of China. I have been fascinated with the Great Wall since I was a young child and had been looking forward to this excursion since we knew we would be coming to China. No amount of research, however, can prepare you for such an amazing sight. The sheer size of the wall is enough to take your breath away.
We began with a rough start. Pudding did NOT like being in the ergo carrier at all. It was the first time we had tried it with him and he let us know immediately that he was not happy. It didn’t help that it was so cold outside; it had snowed earlier in the morning. I’m sure being stuffed into a carrier with a bulky coat on wasn’t fun, but I really wanted him to have the experience of “climbing” the Great Wall so we continued on. Our guide continually asked if we were sure we wanted to climb with him. We quickly found out why she was hesitant within the first couple of stairs. The steps were so uneven and steep. We found a rhythm though (about six steps up and then stop to catch a breath) and before we knew it we had climbed about half way up. We stopped at a landing to take pictures, and to get used to the difference in altitude, and I was suddenly surrounded by tons of people that were anxious to get their picture taken with the blonde woman with the Asian child. It was really the first time we had been approached because of our “western” appearance. We are stared at constantly walking down the streets; older people stop in their tracks to watch us pass with Pudding. But today was the first time people had actually come forward to ask questions about why a Caucasian couple had an Asian baby. Of course, maybe they just wanted their picture taken with the crazy lady who was trying to climb with a baby strapped to her chestJ Whatever the reason, I obliged…a little happy to have an excuse to take a few minutes away from climbing.
The higher we climbed, the harder it became. By this point Pudding was sound asleep and it began to snow. We finally made it to the first guard tower and took the obligatory picture. People everywhere were coming up to congratulate me for making the climb with Pudding. I was happy to begin our descent but soon found out that it is just as hard to climb down. Not only is it jarring to climb down that many uneven steps but by that point your legs feel like jello. We made it down without a fall and took a few minutes to bask in the fact that we had just climbed a (very small) portion of the Great Wall. While many people told me I was crazy, I am so glad that I was able to do that with Pudding. Such a tremendous experience for my little boy. I know he will have no recollection of it, but he will at least have pictures of it and be able to say that he made the trip to the Great Wall. There was no way I could pass up that opportunity for him.
At the end of the climb Stu and I took a picture at the stone with Chairman Mao’s quote “One cannot call oneself a hero until one has climbed the great wall.” Does that make me a super-hero since I climbed for two??!!