The below set of galleries are a compilation of pictures from my first to last trip to China spanning across 2001 to 2009.
REMOTE PART OF THE GREAT WALL ~2001
On my first business trip to China when, the St. Regis was only $150/nt with butler, after researching where one of the more remote areas of The Wall that was still accessible, I went down to the concierge and asked them to find me a driver to take me to the area. This kid, about 16 years of age, showed up in his economy sedan and off we went. It was in the dead of winter, the lakes were frozen over and the wind was howling. The driver wouldn't even get out of the car. In some casual loafers and my long think wool business coat I headed off across a damn that was frozen over, hiked up a hillside to where there was a ladder to climb up on to The Wall. An amazing feeling to be all alone, no one in sight, standing on top of this massive historical wall. During the hike, the only person I saw was a lone farmer in his peach orchard raking rocks. In the 2004, I brought John, my now husband, to the same area (2004 pics follow this photo gallery) and you can see the significant transformation with all the refurbishment of the wall and during the summer.
(Click on pictures to enlarge)
THE STREETS OF BEIJING 2001
Street scenes from the early trips ... fyi, the haziness in the pictures are from smog. We would have days that were so smoggy that the building next door was just a shadow.
forbidden city 2001 - 2003
A park that is accessed from behind The Forbidden City.
These pics are most likely 2002, there used to be an old hutong (original
Chinese neighborhood) that had an entry into a portion of Mao's
underground tunnels. His administration could leave the Forbidden City through underground tunnels to the Summer Palace and a military
2004 PERSONAL TRIP THROUGH CHINA
In 2004, John joined me in China for a personal trip through China. In about 2.5 weeks we tried to see what we thought would be the most interesting for John's first trip to China.
RE-VISITED THE REMOTE SECTION OF THE GREAT WALL 3 TO 4 YEARS LATER
Since my first visit the government had started to restore this section of the wall. At the end of this section of the wall, there is a small village where our driver met us. We had a beer at the local restaurant and the owner was very social. She showed us the section of the wall we had climbed was in the Lonely Planet guide and that her restaurant was listed. She was so cute, she escorted us to the car and waived good bye. We couldn't speak each other's language but sign language and lots of smiles seemed to make her very happy.