The good news is that the thoughtful folks at Yangshuo Mountain Retreat have a really affordable (if less than speedy) internet connection. The bad news is that the computer screen is drawing lots of late night insects. So this'll be quick: China is stunning. Ambivalence and ambiguity seem elemental here, but so does ambition.
Margaret and I didn't lack ambition either when we signed up for a decidedly out of the ordinary Great Wall of China experience: hiking for 4.5 hours through an unrestored part of the wall (starting in a forest on the 'enemy side') to an in-process-of-restoration section, and ending at the restored-and-touristy section. Here's a shot from the first part.
And finally, here's a photo from a park on the way to the Forbidden City, which totally belies the mad crowds and unrelenting traffic on the other side of the thick, ancient walls. (For the record, 'mad,' 'unrelenting' and 'thick' also describe the sweltering heat Beijing subjected us to -- God help the Olympic athletes who show up in a few weeks. They've already stopped non-essential construction, the bulk of commercial trucking, and many industries in the region to help clear the air of the city's famous pollution.)