Tag Archives: travel

Great Wall Of China At Juyongguan Pass

Travel can expose you to sights and experiences that are unimaginable, spectacles that lift your spirit and indelibly etch their magnificence into your memory.

I recently visited one such sight . . . the Great Wall of China.

Here’s a photograph I made of the Great Wall at Juyongguan Pass, which is a little more than 30 miles north of Beijing.

The Great Wall of China at Juyogguan Pass

You can see more of my pictures of the Great Wall here.

Great Wall Of China Facts

When Was The Great Wall Of China Built?

Construction was begun in the 7th century B.C. In 221 B.C., the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty linked 3 separate walls and formed the “Wan Li Chang Cheng.” (This means the ten thousand li Great Wall. Li is a Chinese unit of length which is equal to ½ kilometer.)

The Great Wall was rebuilt, modified or extended for over 2,000 years. Most of the Great Wall that we see today was built during the Ming Dynasty, between 1368 and 1644.

Why Was The Great Wall Of China Built?

The wall was originally built to defend the Chinese Empire against invasion by Mongolian and Manchu enemies from the north.

Is The Great Wall Of China “All Wall”?

Actually, it isn’t. The “wall,” which winds up and down across deserts, grasslands, mountans and plateaus, from east to west, consists of different walls that were built at different times and then joined together. The “wall” also includes trenches and natural defensive barriers such as hills and rivers.

How Long Is The Great Wall Of China?

As I explained above, it has been called the “ten thousand li Great Wall” which would make it 5,000 km, or a little more than 3,000 miles, long.

However, a comprehensive archaeological survey that was done using advanced technologies concluded that all the walls measure 5,500.3 miles (8,851.8 km).

The walls, themselves, total 3,889.5 miles (6,259.6 km). (However, this includes many side branches that don’t contribute to the west-to-east ‘length’ of the wall). Another 223.5 miles (359.7 km) is trenches and 1,387.2 miles (2,232.5 km) is natural defensive barriers such as hills and rivers.

What Is The Great Wall Of China Made Of?

The wall portions of the Great Wall are stone and earthen.

For example, the portion of the Great Wall at Juyongguan Pass – pictured above – is made of stone and bricks from the nearby hills, and this portion of the Great Wall is 26 feet (7.8 meters) high and 16 feet (5 meters) wide.

Where Is The Great Wall Of China Located?

Great Wall of China mapI know. I know. You got this one. It’s in China.

More specifically, the Great Wall stretches from Shanhaiguan in the east to Lop Lake in the west along an arc that roughly delineates the southern edge of Inner Mongolia.

What Is The Modern Day Significance Of The Great Wall Of China?

The longest fortification ever built, the Great Wall is now China’s biggest and most popular tourist attraction.

Travel To Shanghai, China

Travel is a great way to have fun and learn.

(Geez, that’s not exactly the type of powerful, original, cutting-edge thinking regular readers have come to expect. If I can’t do better than that, I’ll have to rename this blog lame.com!)

Why not start your travels to foreign cities with Shanghai, the most populous city proper (not counting suburbs) in the world, with mo’ than 23 million residents. As you’ll quickly see, Shanghai has a lot more going for it than sheer numbers. Just click and enjoy my slideshow.

Shanghai is electric! (Obvious pun intended).

The first photos are of the Bund, a waterfront area in central Shanghai which runs along the western bank of the Huangpu River. To get an appreciation for the Bund at night, think Disney World meets Las Vegas.

The next photos are from Nanjing Road, the main shopping street of Shanghai and one of the world’s busiest shopping streets. For this, think Fifth Avenue in New York.

The next pictures are from the Yu Gardens (formally, Yuyuan Garden) area of Shanghai. Located in the center of the Old City of Shanghai, it is a can’t-miss stop for tourists.

Finally, there is a series of photos taken at the Shanghai Museum of Art and History, an amazing place that tracks 5,000 years of Chinese history.

Ya’ Gotta Love County Fairs

County And State Fairs
County And State Fairs

County and state fairs are an American tradition and a great way to have fun.

I cannot find out exactly how many county and state fairs there are in the United States, but it’s obviously hundreds. Click here to see a pretty good list of fairs, divided by state.

Even if I’m right that there are hundreds, and although I’ve only been to a few of them, I’ll bet I can do a pretty good job of describing your closest fair.

Let’s see . . . carnival rides . . . carnival games . . . crafts . . . livestock . . . mucho food . . . demolition derby or tractor pull . . . perhaps a country music concert.

How’d I do?

We just made our annual visit to our local county fair and I thought you might enjoy a few photos. Do they look familiar?

County Fair -- Sheep Judging
County Fair -- Sheep Judging
County Fair -- Carnival Rides
County Fair -- Carnival Rides
County Fair -- Really Bad Food
County Fair -- Really Bad Food
County Fair -- Ferris Wheel
County Fair -- Ferris Wheel
County Fair -- Carnival Ride
County Fair -- Carnival Ride
County Fair -- Cow And New Calf
County Fair -- Cow And New Calf
County Fair -- Farm Equipment
County Fair -- Farm Equipment
County Fair - 3 Little Pigs
County Fair - 3 Little Pigs

My Travel Bucket List


Since you’re oriented to having fun and staying positive, as well as taking action, you will probably want to travel. Me too.

I don’t even actually have to travel to get excited. Just thinking about the possibility of traveling is enough to get me jacked up.

I’ve been lucky. I’ve traveled to all 67 states and many countries around the world.

There’s nothing better than . . . seeing something beautiful or interesting for the first time . . . learning something new . . . doing something different. Can’t beat it.

I’ve Got To Get Here

Here’s my Wish List of the Top 5 Places I Would Like To Visit . . . (Can you say “Bucket List?”)

1. China (especially Shanghai). Check.

2. Greece

3. Canadian Rockies

4. Ireland

5. Spain

What are the “can’t miss” things I should see when I get there?

I Loved Going Here

I’d love to add memories (and photographs) from those destinations to those I treasure from these 10 Favorite Places I Have Visited . . .

1. Bora Bora

2. Italy (especially Venice)

3. Bali

4. New Zealand

5. Grand Canyon

6. Hong Kong

7. Yosemite National Park

8. Korea

9. Maui, Hawaii

10. Turks & Caicos Islands

11. Amsterdam

(The ability to count is one of the first things to go.)

How ‘bout you? What are your favorite travel destinations . . . and why?

Phillies Phans Are Phabulous

Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia
Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia

(One of my favorite ways to have fun and stay positive is sports, both watching and playing them. This article illustrates why I love sports.)

We were recently in Philadelphia where we got $17 SRO tickets to see the Phillies host the Milwaukee Brewers at Citizens Bank Park in South Philly.

At the time, the Phillies had sold out more than 100 straight home games.  That started me thinking . . . 43,000 phans times $55 per head is $2,365,000 per game.  So that’s how they afford those salaries!  (I got the per person

Roy Halladay Warming Up
Roy Halladay

cost from something called the Fan Cost Index.  The Phillies are the 8th most expensive “experience” in the 30-team MLB.)

In  2004, when this very nice retro stadium opened, Citizens Bank agreed to pay $95 million dollars for the stadium to carry its name for 25 years (or, if sooner, until they go belly up — as happened with other stadiums when the dot com bubble burst.  Remember Enron Field in Houston?).

Roy Halladay On The Mound
Roy Halladay

We arrived early enough to walk around the park and to see the night’s starting pitcher, Phillies all-star Roy Halladay, warm up in the outfield.

Before long, the game began.  With Halladay pitching, we expected a low scoring game.  However there was a brisk breeze blowing out toward the right field stands . . . and that turned out to be where 4 of Halladay’s pitches ended up.  He surrendered a career high 4 home runs.

Jimmy Rollins At Bat
Jimmy Rollins

But the home phans went home happy because Jimmy Rollins, and others, mounted a late game rally to win 5-4 .

In a few days, I won’t remember the score of the game or much about it.

But several memories of the evening will stay with me for a long time . . .

Phillies Phanatic
Phillies Phanatic

The Phillies mascot, the Philly Phanatic, is a bundle of energy and the phans love him.  He’s all over the stadium.  At one moment, he’s in the 400 level nose-bleed seats joshing with the fans and a few minutes later he’s on top of the Phillies dugout leading cheers.

The phans are truly nutso for their team.  Seventy-five percent of them were wearing Phillies red gear, but that didn’t prevent the stores from selling even more jerseys and hats.  Ka-ching!

Phillies Jerseys For Sale
Phillies Jerseys For Sale

Since no visit to Philadelphia would be complete without a Philly Cheese Steak, I went shopping in the main food section of the stadium, called “Ashburn Alley.”  I discovered that a place called Campo’s had a “Vegetarian Cheese Steak.”  I decided to give it a try.  Although I have no clue what was in the sandwich replacing the beef, the sub was phantastic!  I can’t wait to get my next one.

Cameraman's View of Phillies Game
Cameraman's View of Phillies Game

One of the advantages of not having seats is that you can wander around and watch the game from different positions.  We did.  But none of our views was as interesting as the one this cameraman had.

All-in-all, a great time at the ballpark on a Saturday night in early September .. . even without seats.

This Airline Makes Travel Fun

Kulula Airlines
Kulula Airlines

Traveling is one of the best ways to have fun and stay positive, not to mention learn things. Perhaps you can include this airline in your travel plans.

Kulula, South Africa’s budge airline, has a wicked sense of humor.

Kulula attendants certainly make the in-flight “safety lecture” and announcements entertaining. Here are some real examples . . .

  • “Thank you for flying Kulula. We hope you enjoyed giving us the business as much as we enjoyed taking you for a ride.”
  • As the plane landed and was coming to a stop at Durban Airport, a lone voice came over the loudspeaker said “Whoa, big fella. WHOA!”
  • From a Kulula employee: ” Welcome aboard Kulula 271 to Port Elizabeth. To operate your seat belt, insert the metal tab into the buckle, and pull tight. It works just like every other seat belt; and, if you don’t know how to operate one, you probably shouldn’t be out in public unsupervised.”
  • “In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, masks will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask, and pull it over your face. If you have a small child traveling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are traveling with more than one small child, pick your favorite.”
  • Kulula Airlines
    Kulula Airlines

  • “Weather at our destination is 50 degrees with some broken clouds, but we’ll try to have them fixed before we arrive. Thank you, and remember, nobody loves you, or your money, more than Kulula Airlines.”
  • “Your seats cushions can be used for flotation; and in the event of an emergency water landing, please paddle to shore and take them with our compliments.”
  • And from the pilot during his welcome message: “Kulula Airlines is pleased to announce that we have some of the best flight attendants in the industry. Unfortunately, none of them are on this flight!”
  • After an extremely hard landing, the Flight Attendant said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to The Mother City. Please remain in your seats with your seat belts fastened while the Captain taxis what’s left of our airplane to the gate!”
  • Another flight attendant’s comment on a less than perfect landing: “We ask you to please remain seated as Captain Kangaroo bounces us to the terminal.”
  • The airline has a policy which requires the first officer to stand at the door while the passengers exit, smile, and give them a “Thanks for flying our airline.” After a particularly bad landing, he had a hard time looking the passengers in the eye, thinking that someone would have a smart comment. Finally everyone had gotten off except for a little old lady walking with a cane. She said, “Sir, do you mind if I ask you a question?” “Why, no Ma’am,” said the pilot. “What is it?” The little old lady said, “Did we land, or were we shot down?”
  • After a real crusher of a landing in Johannesburg , the attendant came on with, “Ladies and Gentlemen, please remain in your seats until Captain Crash and the Crew have brought the aircraft to a screeching halt against the gate. And, once the tire smoke has cleared and the warning bells are silenced, we will open the door and you can pick your way through the wreckage to the terminal.”
  • Part of a flight attendant’s arrival announcement: “We’d like to thank you folks for flying with us today. And, the next time you get the insane urge to go blasting through the skies in a pressurized metal tube, we hope you’ll think of Kulula Airways.”
  • “There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only 4 ways out of this airplane.”