Anyway, after we finished with all the paperwork and got Jude's visa in Guangzhou we flew to Beijing so we could take both boys to the Great Wall, then fly home.
We left Guangzhou at night and arrived in Beijing late, with no hotel shuttle waiting for us, as we were told would be there. That should have been our first warning that something was up. We finally got a ride from a worker at another hotel who moonlights as a cabbie. His car was packed with us and all our luggage. Come to find out, both Violet and I had the same thought — that he was going to drive us somewhere and rob us. LOL. Instead, he took us right to our hotel — which promptly informed us that our reservation had been canceled. Mind you, this is at nearly 2 a.m., which luckily is in the afternoon back in the United States. The hotel said they would give us a room and we could pay in the morning if nothing got straightened out. Since it was still the afternoon in the states, I called our travel agent who handled this part of the trip and she said she would get on it and straighten things out.
So after a few hours of sleep, we were back up and ready to go. We met our guide in the lobby and — praise God — everything had been worked out. The tour agency had paid for the room so we ate breakfast then set out for the Great Wall. We can't remember our guide's name, to our shame, but he was really nice.
We went to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall this time and it was fabulous. It was cold (it was the first of December), but the sun was shining brightly. In 2008 when we went to the Great Wall on our first adoption trip, it was cloudy and rainy. Back then we went to the Juyongguan Pass section of the Great Wall. As awesome as that was, and it was incredible, we both think the Mutianyu section is more amazing.
We had to ride a cable car to get to the wall. The boys loved that.
The view was breath-taking. The mountains are so rugged in this area.
Our guide took a family photo of us all.
Here's the area along which we walked. Not even, but that's to be expected since the wall runs along the mountain ridge.
Here's an idea of how steep the walk was in some places.
And another view of the ruggedness of the surrounding mountains.
Oh, and please make sure your flames are clothed. :-)
A good time was had by all, and we hope the boys remember this remarkable adventure.
After the Great Wall, it was off to the airport and the marathon flights home. Let's just say the flights were not our most favorite parts of the whole journey, but we made it and now the adventures continue. -- Kevin