Great Wall and a taste of China

Nothing quite prepares you for an encounter with one of the architectural wonders of the world.

After crashing easily at 7pm on our first evening in China, my heart sank to wake up and see the clock read 11pm. 4 hours? Really? After a 36-hours stretch of no sleep? In any case, it was enough to recharge us a bit for the day ahead. Several hours later, we all headed down to the hotel breakfast buffet at 6am. It was an incredible spread of decidedly non-western breakfast foods but we had our fill and soon after met our guide Jean in the lobby along with other families from our agency. These families are wonderful and deserve a post devoted to each one. We boarded a bus and made our way to the Great Wall.

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There is nothing quite like the feeling of setting foot on something more ancient than anything the US or much of Europe can boast.





Yep, that’s a leash she’s wearing. Don’t judge.


It was a beautiful but extremely hot day and Sarah gave out fairly quickly climbing the uneven steps. Frankly, I welcomed the excuse to sit in the shade with her and Linda-Anne while Mike and the boys continued the rest of the way up to the top tower.

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The view was spectacular. The experience thrilling. Watching the boys pretend they were Huns charging along the steps? Priceless. #proudhomeschoolmom

Traffic to and from the Great Wall rivaled anything we’ve see in DC. Absolutely insane. Wished so much that we had brought books for the kids but they managed to entertain themselves and a few other boys who are traveling with their families too.


Having long blown through our supply of granola bars, we were more than ready for lunch that was arranged for us by Jean at the Cloissone enamelware factory when we arrived at 3pm. Chinese food has never tasted so good. More traffic driving the rest of the way home, passing by the site of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.


The Bird’s Nest

Finally arrived back to our hotel around 5:30 and had to make a decision. We’d all been up since midnight or before…do we let everyone crash again early or push through until closer to dark? After a putting our feet up for a few moments, we decided on the latter and made our way for a quick stroll around the streets surrounding our hotel.



Was so happy to discover this Catholic Cathedral right next to our hotel. It was locked and we couldn’t make out the Mass times but I allowed myself the comfort of knowing our Eucharist Lord was residing close to where we slept. It grieves us that we will be unable to attend Mass today.




We then wandered over to a street lined with food stalls selling hot food. The smells coming from the grills were…interesting. So we decided to see what they were cooking up.


Fresh coconut milk

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Then things got a little…interesting. Fair warning: the next few pictures are not for the squeamish.


That’s octapus, some sort of crab and I think animal heart…all on a stick


Baby ducks


What you see hear is worm larvae, squid, and more shellfish…all on a stick for your culinary pleasure.


This here is a flying lizard…you guessed it…on a stick



No really…it’s all for real


A fine selection of crispy scorpions


These big guys looked quite filling


I bet these are gonna tickle goin’ down


In case you meet an old woman who swallowed a fly…


Crispy coiled snakes and black beetles


Snake anyone?

Remarkably, no one was very hungry (or adventurous). You simply cannot unsee (or unsmell) some of these Chinese delicacies. So we turned heel and got back to the hotel.

We are packed up and ready to check out at 6am. Jean will take us all by bus to the airport where we will fly as a group to Zhengzhou, the capital of the Henan province, where our babies are coming on Monday morning.

Please keep us–along with all the families here–in your prayers as we await and prepare for Gotcha Day. We are in the company of some beautiful people who are just as anxious and nervous and excited as we are. Much will happen in the course of the next 36 hours. Lives are about to change. There is a tension in the air…joyful and excited but also nervous and anxious. Most are seasoned parents but one couple is about to become first time parents. Two other families are adopting 2 children at once as well. Regardless, there is much on all our hearts.

“Do not look forward in fear to the changes of life; rather look to them with full hope that as they arise God, Whose very own you are, will lead you safely through all things; and when you cannot stand it, God will carry you in His arms. Do not fear what may happen tomorrow; the same everlasting Father who cared for you today will take care of you then ad every day.”  – St. Francis de Sales



4 thoughts on “Great Wall and a taste of China

  1. what an adventure! Those pics of the Great Wall, wow. It brings great joy to my heart that the kids are there with you, they bring their own excitement, comic relief, and awe. Oh and that Chinese food, like nothing else. We went to a Chinese wedding in Canada and it was an experience! Just glad we didn’t have anything on a stick and that was probably smart that you didn’t try anything. Anxious for Gotcha day for you all! Prayers and love from PA.

  2. No judging on the leash. My sister put her son in one when they visited us in Germany. Otherwise, he would have gone tumbling down the mountain from the Eagle’s Nest. Prayed for you and all the families at Mass this a.m. and will continue to do so.


  3. Lately I’ve become interested about China, so I appreciated this post. That food is something else. No judging about the leash. Glad your children are with you because I can’t imagine being so far away from them. And what an education they are getting.

  4. Pingback: 2014 Redux | Enlarge Thy Tent

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