Earthquake, Great Wall and Ming Tombs

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First, a note about the earthquake in Sichuan province: I did not feel anything when the quake hit. Wuhan is located roughly 600 miles due east of Chengdu, the city near the earthquake's epicenter. Even though Wuhan appears to be closer than Beijing to where the quake hit, many people here did not notice the event. The information available here appears to be similar to what is being reported online at sites such as Yahoo, that the loss of life is incredible, and that whole towns were decimated. So far, I have not encountered anyone who has had family hurt by the quake, and to some extent, life goes on here. Even so, everyone is in shock about the extent of the devastation.

 

On a more trivial note, my visit continues to be fascinating. I visited the Great Wall and the Ming Tombs over the weekend. The wall is a tremendous structure - much like the Forbidden City, it is difficult to appreciate its size without actually visiting. According to my limited knowledge of its history, the Great Wall started out as a collection of separate walls that were later joined together by various emperors. Although the Great Wall was apparently never directly breached by invaders from the North, it could be surmounted with the assistance of a well-placed bribe to a sentry. I visited the Great Wall at Badaling, which is just outside of Beijing. It's a busy tourist location, so we arrived at 8:30 to beat the crowds. By the time we left at 10:30, it was hard to maneuver on the wall. Afterwards, we visited the Ming Tombs, specifically the Ding Ling tomb site, the underground tomb of the Wenli emperor, which has been fully excavated. Unfortunately, the site suffered under the cultural revolution, so much of the contents were lost. Even so, it is an impressive site. Further updates to follow about my attendance at a trial involving a copyright dispute, and a Chinese tea ceremony.

 

Great Wall Image