Asia 2005 Journey Day Ten
                                   Beijing, China
                                            May 13, 2005:  Haze filled skies.  Tour of a cloisonné factory and the Great Wall is today's adventure.
                                            After multiple hotel pick up stops and endless traffic, our driver (nicknamed "Mr. Millimeter" due to his
                                            closeness to other traffic) and guide finally transport us to the countryside.  Most, if not all, of the roads
                                            in the city have roses and the rural roads have tree borders.  Most tours and guide services will include
                                            a stop at some type of shop selling local wares.
                                            Our first tour stop was a state owned cloisonné factory.  Building and conditions are very archaic; however
                                            there is no debating their skills and the final artwork is outstanding.  Cloisonné is the process of using
                                            copper vases or plates and gluing small copper strips to an exterior design. The next step is adding 
                                            several layers of enamel within the design strips.  The final step is continuous polishing with several types 
                                            of stones to achieve the final product.  All steps are meticulous and very manually intensive.
                                            The next stop was the Great Wall at Mutianyu.  Most tourists go to the Badaling section closer to the 
                                            city (including President Nixon); however, the Mutianyu has less tourists and most travel articles mention
                                            the scenery to be even more abundant.  All we know is that words cannot describe the viewing of this 
                                            endless "Dragon's tail" across China.  Walking the restored sections requires a close eye since the 
                                            stair risers tend to be rather high.  In each direction, one could see the wall continuing up the sides
                                            of the mountains at a 60 degree angle and then edging the top of the range.  Thankfully, our hike 
                                            started with a cable car ride up to the starting section.  However, either direction required extensive
                                            climbing up or down.
                                            After battling the gauntlet of friendly and persistent souvenir hawkers on the trail down, it was time 
                                            for a restful and quiet drive back to the city.  
                                            Toll Booth         State Cloisonne Factory 
                                                           Step 1: Copper Vase or Plates    Step 2:  Attach Copper Strips    Vases with copper strip designs
                                                   Step 3: Apply layers of enamel    Step 4:  Polish enamel and copper strips    Final Product    Artisan painting interior of glass bottles    
                                                T-Shirts and Postcards    Fresh Snacks   Cable Car  


                                           Travel specs:  Tour Bus
                                            Return to Asia 2005