HOK & ARIDO’s excellent adventure… part 9

Posting on behalf of Deborah Rutherford, Operations Leader for HOK in Canada’s Corporate Accounts Practice and President of ARIDO.

December 9th – The Great Wall

Group at Olympic Site
Group at the Olympic site

My cheeks are rosy and my knees are sore. On our final day here before returning home we spent more time outside than at any time in the past nine days. We went out to the Great Wall where the air is fresher, although blue sky is a rare sight. We took the opportunity to stop at the Olympic Centre on the way; the scale of the square linking the Birds Nest and Water Cube rivals that of Tiananmen Square. The air has been foggy/smoggy since we’ve been here and it was difficult to determine how big the square is as we couldn’t see the extent of it in either direction as the edges faded into the mist. We have heard many different plans for the sites while we’ve been here and I hope what I heard today is right. The Water Cube will remain as is and the stadium will not be torn down or turned into a shopping mall. It was designed with the intent to deconstruct it and make it smaller; more useable for the needs of a sports facility in Beijing. It isn’t viable in its current format, so this seems more preferable than the other options.

Great Wall steps 
The Great Wall steps

The trip to the Great Wall section near Badaling was surprising after the flat landscape of Beijing. The rocky mountain landscape with a sprinkling of snow was quite a departure from the city, although it is actually very close. When we bought the tickets I elected not to get the extra insurance and take the cheaper price; I wonder what the insurance would actually cover, a helicopter ride if I tripped would be nice. Most of us had no clue as to where we were going or how long it would take. It was misty and my worry about being cold was unfounded. The temperatures might have been low, but my body heat made up for it and I quickly wanted to shed some clothes. The steps were not as difficult as I thought; I expected them to be higher and more crumbly than they were. Not to say that they were easy, but I did make it on the full circuit, although at times I was a bit concerned. I hugged a few strangers as they were leaning against the railing and I didn’t want to let go as I manoeuvred around them. It was well worth the trek and if I came back I would do it again.

How to walk on the wall
How to walk on the wall

We got back into the city with time to do a small amount of shopping at the Silk Market. I am not a shopper, so I stuck close to Susan Wiggins who is a master haggler. She managed to do a lot of Christmas shopping in a very short period of time, including some for me. Now I know how she gets such great deals for all of us at ARIDO/IDC.

Top of Great Wall
At the top of The Great Wall!

We have a bit of time tomorrow before we head to the airport. It will be my first time on my own, which should be interesting.


One Comment
  1. December 10th, 2009 - 7:06 pm
    Calvin Yang said:

    Hey Deborah next time we could file a lawsuit against the empire of Ming Dynasty who built those steep stairs. Maybe they would compensate you with a Qing Dynasty China from the Forbidden City. Anyway I’m so proud of you guys for conquering the Great Wall!:)

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