Beijing and its surrounding area are the essence of China.

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I saw all the coolest sights: the amazing Forbidden City, Tian An Men Square (not really much to look at, just a large open space); the lovely Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace (I hope it's much better in summer--really quite drab in February). The Ming Tomb was disappointing but I climbed part of the wall--need you ask which wall? THE Wall!!!! It's wicked cool!

Most of my photos are pretty pathetic--the weather didn't cooperate, so there wasn't much light. Everything was in shades of taupe and gray, so if you want good photos of these famous sights, I'm sure you can find better ones on the web. But here's a few to show my impressions of this wondrous part of the world.

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Parts of the wall walk were steep and icy. We ascended via a chair lift and descended on a--get this--toboggan slide! (see right). It was hella fun.

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