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[travel] New friends become guides to China

来源:Des Moines Register 作者:MARY VAN HEUKELO 时间:2008-11-25 Tag:travel   China   guide   点击:

This view is from a tower near North Gate 7 of the Great Wall of China. Local and foreign tourists, young and old, hike (步行) up steep (陡峭的) grades (斜坡) to snap (照相) photos and stand where many Chinese labored to build the expansive (庞大的;宏大的) wall.

Matt Van Heukelom stands at the Great Wall that spans more than 12,000 miles of northern China. The wall was built in some places with straw, sand, compacted earth, and brick. Parts have been restored and are open for hiking steep steps and pathways.

Day One: The Great Wall. Historians say construction and rebuilding occurred between 700 B.C. and the 1600s, during the Qin and Ming dynasties. Made of compacted (压紧的) earth, straw (稻草, 麦杆), sand and brick, estimates of the combined length of all of its structures range up to 12,400 miles.

Millions labored on the wall; at one time, a fifth of the working population was involved. Many perished(丧生), and remains have been discovered.

Our hike was steep, and at times the width of the wall accommodated (容纳) 10 native and foreign tourists abreast (并排地). We peered (凝视着) through lookout towers (了望塔) and admired the mountainous views, while marveling at the mammoth (庞然大物) undertaking of those who toiled (苦干) and died for the defense of their land.

Second Adventure: The Ming Tombs. Thirteen of the 16 Ming emperors ordered the construction of hidden burials, more than 80 feet below ground level. The tombs' location in the narrow valley north of Changping reflects principles of feng shui, the balance and harmony of man and nature, combining the elements of wind, earth and water.

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