2013 Dream Team signs off

Beijing…Oh wow.  Upon arriving via night train, we traveled to the Forbidden City, which is across from Tiananmen Square.  It was hard to judge how much time we would need because we didn’t know how big it was.  As it turned out, we needed more time.

The Forbidden City.

The Forbidden City.

 On the second day in Beijing, we went to the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP).  This museum has an astounding collection in which Dan and Frankie were lucky enough to look at.  Meanwhile, Bob, Ethan, Nick, Devra, and Coralyn toured the exhibits.  In the afternoon, we went to the Beijing Zoo, which was just down the street from IVPP.  Again, we underestimated how much time we would need here.  There were animals from all over the world, and of course, we got to see Giant Pandas.  In addition, we saw many turtles and tortoises (unfortunately, Dan was busy doing research and didn’t get to see them), and cute little Red Pandas. 

Nick rides a tortoise outside the reptiles exhibit in which he named "Wobbles."

Nick rides a tortoise outside the reptiles exhibit in which he named “Wobbles.”

Red Panda

Giant Panda munching on some bamboo.

Giant Panda munching on some bamboo.

Devra poses with a panda just inside the zoo.

Devra poses with a panda just inside the zoo.

Finally, on our third and final day in China after a full month of research, we visited the Great Wall of China.   Coincidentally, this also happens to be Coralyn’s 19th birthday.  Happy Birthday Coralyn!  The wall was fantastic.  We traveled to the top by little carts so we could spend more time on the wall.  At the top, we were greeted by amazing views, which we shared with the thousands of other people on the wall.  Some of the walking was hardcore.  From the flat sections, the wall turned to a steep ramp, which then changed to large, uneven steps.  This was repeated up and down and up and down all along the wall.  Ethan and Nick managed to venture the farthest because they pretty much ran the entire section that was available to travel across (about 2-2.5 km) and went down using the stairs. As it turns out it was worth the immense amount of physical effort because this was the section of the wall far from everybody, so there was virtually nobody on the wall.  Coralyn, Devra, Dan, and Bob went about half that length, weaving through the thick crowds, and got to ride the carts back down the mountain. 

A section of the Great Wall.

A section of the Great Wall.

A view of the Great Wall, looking back on about 3/4 of the distance that Ethan and Nick traveled. Yes, those are very steep stairs, and there are a lot of them.

The night will probably consist of some birthday celebrations for Coralyn, then it’s off to bed early because we’re leaving our hostel around 5:30 a.m.  We’re flying from Beijing to Tokyo, where we will hopefully then board the new 787 Dreamliner and take that all the way back to Denver.  In Denver, our dear Nick Vergara parts and the rest of our group flies home to Bozeman!   

As a final note, we would like to thank Frankie and Bob Jackson and Dan Lawver for their wonderful guidance and help during this trip.  We want to thank them for letting us take part in this amazing adventure with them!  

This is the 2013 IRES China Dream Team signing off. 

Written by: Ethan Schreuder, 6/27/2013

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