January 8th

Every day on our schedule is packed full of activities, and today was no exception. It started off with a much-anticipated visit to the Great Wall of China. It was so incredible to see such a famous structure up close, and we had about an hour and a half to explore and climb the wall- which is much steeper than you might expect! It was quite a workout, but some of us made it all the way to the very top of the mountain!

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Our next stop was a jade factory. Jade is one of China’s most precious stones, much like diamonds in America. A guide showed us around the factory and told us about the different types of jade and how it is carved. We had a chance to do some shopping, followed by a beautiful lunch at the factory’s restaurant.

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After lunch, we toured the Summer Palace. This was the summer home of many emperors, and this is reflected in its extravagant beauty. The palace has been around since 1100. One of the most amazing things about the places we see here is how old they are- the Great Wall dates back to 700 BC! Compared to the US, everything here seems ancient.

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Our last day in Beijing continued with a traditional tea ceremony, where we got to taste five different types of traditional Chinese tea. It was a lot of fun and very delicious. The food didn’t stop there- we went straight to a Peking duck dinner, a Beijing specialty.

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Our night ended with a theatrical Kung Fu show, full of dance and acrobatics. Our tour guide says it is the best kung fu show in the world. Tomorrow, our early morning starts at 4:30AM as we get on a plane to our next Chinese city, Xi’an.

Check out more pictures from the day at http://www.flickr.com/photos/113489266@N06/sets/72157639552541534/

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