In China, Spring doesn't last long.  No sooner did the cold weather end  then the temperatures started rising.  I finished up my classes and, after accomplishing a couple weeks of lying around, took off on a trek into the center of the nation.  Beijing was very hot.  No matter how many times I go there that will be my lasting impression of the city.  Heat.  I was there for Christmas and I could still remember how hot the summer was.  It was also wet, I got rained on twice when I didn't have an umbrella.  Still, good trip.

Very few of my pictures from Beijing came out very well.  Here's one from the back of the Forbidden City.  On the whole, I was disappointed with the Forbidden City.  It was just a bunch of buildings.  The architecture was nice but it got repetitious as you walked through it.  It wasn't very lively either, it just looked dead.  Maybe that's what the promoters were going for.
Detail of a dragon's head on a pot.  These pots were filled with rain water and covered incase of fires.  Some of the more interesting things about the Forbidden City were on little things like this.
Does anyone know what this is?  The infamous Great Wall.  I decided to skip the crowds and go the un-modernized Wall in Huirou.  It was really nice.  One of the best times I've had in China.  Instead of modern tourist attractions there was nothing but grass and trees on either side of the Wall.  It was crumbling and hard to get across at times and there were tress growing on top but it was quiet and peaceful.
As I mentioned above, I got rained on.  This was one of the places.  I was crossing the Wall when a full downpour started.  The trees growing on the Wall soaked up the water and got me even wetter.  An umbrella wouldn't have done much good even if I'd thought to bring one.  I waited for a while in one of the guard towers, but I had to start off again because it was getting late.
This is from a battle tower.
One of the most interesting things about this trip was the hike I took through the peasants fields.  Apparently, they'd gotten wind of the fact that foreigners were trekking through here because someone had put up an English sign asking for 5 Yuan for any crops that might get damaged.  It was the shortest way to the main road so I paid up and continued on through the rain.  This tree was taken near the wall.  There were many terraced areas like this along the hillsides.  It's hard to tell but it looks like the terraces are made of rocks taken from the Wall.  It's well known that peasants cart off rocks for houses and walls.  I think that's where the rocks in this pic came from.
What looks like a well cover in a field.

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