The Great Wall – China

We arrived at the Great wall (A Unesco World Heritage site).  We listened to stories of the wall told by our guide.  Over a half million died in its construction, with most being buried in the wall itself.  Moreover, construction started in the third century BC and continued through 16th century.   For over a thousand years various emperors put soldiers on it and added to the fortifications.  It could be seen with the naked eye from space, and is a symbol of Chinese power, industry, and pride.

As we climbed to top of the wall we had two choices.  Up a slight incline crowed with people experiencing the great wall, or up a very steep section that only had a few people.  The choice was simple.

We scaled up the steep narrow section alternating looks over the Chinese landscape and the Gobi desert.  Escaping the crowds in China provided a rare treat.  I especially wanted to avoid the crowds given my main goal for the day.

She didn’t know, but today was the day.  I kept the ring hidden through customs and through the weeks of travel together.  I checked it at every chance to ensure it wasn’t stolen or lost.  Many times during our bus or taxi rides, I’d sit with my hands folded on the ring.  I let them talk away, and I zoned out, focused on mustering the courage to ask Sharleen to be my wife.

Nearly a half mile of walking we came up on a shrine on the south side of the wall.  A couple was just leaving.  I fumbled with my knife to cut a piece of orange.  I gave a piece to distract her and then quickly tried to extricate the ring from its hiding place.  She turned and I dropped to a knee and asked to be my wife.

She was stunned, but overjoyed.  I’m sure that time does not slow down, but I became acutely aware of every moment as it passed before she said yes.  I heard the wind rushing.  I saw her eyes tear up.  I felt my heart pound.

The Great Wall

The 10,000 li (1 li ≅ 500 meters) curling dragon barricades the distant border.
The horses of 1,000 springtimes bound through the solid gold land.
Love our China; love our Great Wall.
Translation: Leiyan


We both walked back to the bus a little starry-eyed.  A great journey lie before us.

Summer Palace

The next day we visited Summer Palace which was newly crowned a Unesco World Heritage Site. We cruised around the buildings and learned that much of the site was in use continuously from 1150AD to the 1920s. Since we were at a royal site, we thought it was only fitting that we dress accordingly.  I don’t know why the chair was so big. Perhaps people were heavier in early China.

Early Civilization Timeline

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