Beijing, December 22. Aaron Piersol’s Final Daily Dairy: Day 5. SORRY for yet another delay on the journal entry. Yesterday was another long day and when we got to the airport this morning, we found out our flight back to the states had been cancelled.
After some maneuvering and begging, I was finally able to get on a flight back to Los Angeles 6 hours after I was supposed to leave. They sent me to the VIP Lounge to relax so it wasn’t too horrible. So here I am in Beijing, writing my final entry to conclude my trip to China.
Yesterday we were up at the crack of dawn to beat the traffic out to the Great Wall. It was amazing the difference in landscape in just 45 minutes of driving. We went from the hustle and bustle of the city into the mountainous rural area where the wall is. It was a beautiful part of the country to see.
When we got to the wall, we realized that we would have to climb 3,500 feet (straight up) to get to the top. Seeing how everyone with me was an athlete or former athlete, our competitive spirit kicked in and we all aimed for the top. It took about an hour and a half to finally reach the summit but it was well worth it!!
We learned the history of the wall and the Ming Dynasty of China along the way. It truly is a fascinating sight to see. When we reached the top we could see the wall curve through the hills and valleys as far as the eye could see completely cutting the landscape in half. It took us another hour and a half to get back down. The descent was much tougher than the ascent and we all had shaky legs by the finish.
Next we headed to lunch at the Outback Steakhouse. Yes, the same Outback Steakhouse as in the states! Our host really wanted to go there. It is a big hit with locals. Once we finished lunch we headed directly to the Forbidden City.
The Forbidden City is an ancient city sitting right in the middle of Beijing. Each Emperor during the Ming and Ching Dynasties had built a number of temples and buildings which were all still in pristine condition. We learned how the royalty of China lived and saw a ton of artifacts and art from the time of the Dynasties. In the background, all around the city, I couldn’t help but notice the Beijing 2008 Olympic banners and signs. Learning the history of the people of China and this great country makes me even more excited to be training for another trip back here in 2008!
For dinner we met the executives of Nike again at the top of a local hotel. This was a high scale rotating restaurant with a beautiful 360 view of Beijing. We all said our goodbyes and thank you’s for being such gracious hosts. We all truly enjoyed the spirit of the Chinese people and felt their excitement about having the games here on such a grand scale in 2008.
Thank you all for tuning in and saying hello. I hope I will be able to do this again in the future. It has been a real pleasure. Maybe one of the younger readers out there will be encouraged to train harder and set there sights on Beijing 2008. I hope to see you there!!!!