Stairs. Lots and lots of stairs today. We went to the Great Wall of China, and we learned a bunch about the history, but my favorite part was climbing to the top. On the way, I made a friend and we climbed the last 100 or so steps together. Today we also drove past the Olympics buildings from years ago, and admittedly, I was a little disappointed that our tour guide was super excited about them. From what I’ve read, hosting the Olympics is a great honor and such, but it can really hurt a city. For instance, Beijing pumped tons of money into a few buildings that aren’t used for much anymore, it also drastically changes the local economy, and anyone living in the area is forced to live through a nightmare of tourists, traffic, price gouging, and general frustrations leading up to, during, and even a few days after the Olympics.
We also learned about Dragon Lady, who was honestly a pretty cool woman. Essentially, she was an Emperor’s prostitute, and she bore his only son, which made her very important. Once the Emperor died, the kid was too young to understand how to rule China, so she ruled China by telling the kid what to do. The kid emperor died young, with no children, so Dragon Lady was able to choose a new Emperor who was young enough for her to continue ruling China the way she wants. She was really selfish and didn’t care about the well-being of China, but honestly, considering the way women were/are treated, it pretty cool she was able to pull it off.