Updated: May 3
Chinese driving is interesting. Red lights ...merely a suggestion. Pedestrians... meant to be swerved around and honked at. Motorcycles ...meant to pile people on. No seat belts. No bicycle helmets or baby car seats. Such freedom! Taxis charge $2 to take you almost anywhere. Walking... taxis follow you...waiting for you to get fed up with walking. Life lesson: Who says getting somewhere should be boring?
"My English name is HaHa", our guide to the Great Wall of China informed us. "It means laughter." She advised, "If you are buying pearls for your wife buy top quality. If they are for your girlfriend get them on sale."
HaHa told us we were going to the "Emperor's Palace". It was not at all what I expected. Who builds a palace underground I wondered as we descended five dark, cold flights of stairs deep into the earth. The ancient room was deathly quiet. HaHa advised, "Don't be scary". It was eery. A weak lightbulb lit up three stone thrones. One was for the deceased Emperor, one for his wife, and one for his favorite concubine. The next room contained trunks that had once contained treasures for his afterlife. The treasures now reside in a museum.
The Emperor thought he had everything when in reality he had nothing. People worship this deceased man today. As we left the tour HaHa called out, "Have a nice dream". Maybe she knew people would have nightmares about that horrible place? Life lesson: Mark 8:36 asks, "For what will it profit a man, if he gain the whole world but lose his own soul?"
I was informed that breathing air in Beijing for one day was equivalent to smoking about 70 cigarettes. Many wear face masks. It sometimes looked like an entire surgical ward was walking down the street. Life lesson: Appreciate the air we breathe. If it wasn't for God we wouldn't take our next breath. "In Him we live and move and have our being." (Acts 17:28)
There are several things I miss about China: the people; the beautiful landscaping; the grocery stores with interesting (mysterious) items; walking on the Great Wall, dancing in the streets (and other dancers politely ignoring my inability to keep up with them); old fashioned lamps lighting lagoons filled with froggy choruses; the ethereal beauty of China.
Life lesson: Jesus told us He is preparing a place for us. If Earth is so beautiful after six days of creation what does Heaven look like after 2,000 years? (Keith Green mused about this years ago.) Blessings, Beloved.