The wind picked up during the night and chased the smog away, so we woke up this morning to sunshine and a clear sky—what a refreshing sight! Now that we can see out of our hotel window on the 21st floor, we get a hint of how large this city really is---there are skyscrapers as far as the eye can see in every direction.
The good weather was a special blessing because this was the day we visited the Great Wall of China. It was a pre-conference outing so motor coaches took us to Mutianu, a small town at the base of the mountain range. We took the ski lift up to the Great Wall, had a wonderful time exploring the ancient walkways and guard towers which overlook Mongolia to the north, and took the toboggan back down.
The sense of history was almost palpable as we looked out over the craggy mountains and climbed rock stairs worn smooth from centuries of use. Just the thought of touching something built in the 5th century BC (yes, that’s Before Christ!) is amazing. It’s easy to understand why it is one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
We had a delicious family-style lunch at the Schoolhouse Restaurant in Mutianu. It used to be a school that has been converted into a restaurant and glass-blowing studio. A short distance away was a Subway, which looked so out of place in the rural village.
This evening we met at BISS for a conference debriefing with the organizers and also practiced tomorrow’s instructional design presentation. It had way too many rough edges, so we put in a late night back at the hotel getting our ducks in a row. Vicki Davis also wants us to help with Web 2.0 Kung Fu tomorrow—each person taking 3 minutes to demonstrate a useful Web 2.0 tool in one of the conference sessions.
Our sightseeing days are waning and the conference, which is the real reason we came here, is beginning.