We have arrived safely to Beijing and have spent our first few days having an amazing introduction to China. We spent the first two days exploring the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace and even the famous Great Wall of China. Our evenings have been spent retreating into the cool air conditioning to experience the sights and sounds of Chinese culture through traditional dance and music. We also experienced a more contemporary Chinese show, with a variety of acts ranging from body contortions, stunts in the air and the grand finale of seven motorcycles racing wildly in a sphere. Watching was pretty thrilling, but scary! The food is very different. Lots of new foods, smells and flavors. Many of these foods are considered delicacies and are items I have never experienced before. I’m up for the challenge and willing to try. Well, I’ll try the food that is not looking back at me. I’m not ready for that yet! My most memorable (and probably most exhausting) experience by far was climbing the Great Wall. We arrived at the wall at approximately 8 am and then began a 20 minute hike to the top. When we finally reached the top we were at the ancient guard tower 10. Professor Shepard challenged us to push ourselves to reach the end of the renovated tower 20. All the group members proceeded at their own pace, and after an hour of steep upward climbing, my room mate and I finally made it. The journey on the wall was simply amazing. The mountains and landscape was simply breath taking. We all took several pictures along the way. Just thinking about the people and the thousands of years it took to build such a marvelous structure! Words can not describe the awesome beauty. The pictures say much more, but even the pictures don’t give it justice. Believe me, the Great Wall is absolutely spectacular! Walking down the wall was just as challenging as walking up the wall. As I write this Blog, I am half way through my week in Beijing and am standing among a crowd of thousands. It is currently 4 am China and I’m awaiting the flag raising ceremony in the square and a beginning of a new day.