juliayarboughweb.gifHello, my friends!  I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! Mine was packed with adventure, as I continue to try to take in and process all the sights, sounds and differences swirling around me here in Beijing.

So, Saturday night when we last spoke, I was on my way to the men's gymnastics competition. It was preliminary rounds and the U.S. Team was not in this rotation, but that's okay. It was thrilling to sit in the crowd and watch athletes from Germany, South Korea, Australia and many more jump, twist, tumble and turn in ways that simply leave one in awe of what the human body can do.

And ladies, I must confess, this is an EASY event to watch – VERY easy on the eyes (hee-hee). In all seriousness, though, it was great fun, giving me the urge to hit the gym, run, and exercise just to feel as if I am doing something “athlete-like.”
The next morning, (Sunday), was a so-called “day of rest.” I contemplated walking my laundry to a service outside our hotel (word is, it is much less expensive and just as excellent service), but you know what? I got lazy and opted to just drop it at the hotel. Sometimes, convenience outweighs frugality!

Then, it was off to THE GREAT WALL!! (Insert the sound of someone hitting a large gong here for effect.) I felt like a kid with the anticipation of Christmas morning or the start to a family trip to an amusement park.

Six of our work crew piled into the transport vans for the one-hour drive to the section of the wall known as MUTIANYU. This section of the wall was built during the Northern Qi Dynasty – the 6th century! Okay, that's OLD!  

When you arrive at this section of the wall, you have two choices: hike/climb for about an hour up the side of the mountain to actually reach the wall, OR take a cable car up to the wall. Guess which one our group chose? This is a working trip, so time is limited, therefore we climbed into the cable car, which whisked us up the side of the mountain and deposited us at one of the great wonders of the world! 

I am usually not at a loss for words but this time – I was speechless! As far as your eye can see, the wall can be seen dipping, curving and crossing the mountainside. It is breathtaking and awe-inspiring. The first thought that went through my mind: Someone built this!  Not engineers with bulldozers and cranes and conveyer belts to haul materials – but men. With their bare hands. Over centuries.

A million people died over the course of this wonder coming to creation. Dynasties ruled. A country's history is intertwined with each brick, each stone, each layer of mortar holding the wall in place. Just imagine the stories the wall could tell if it could? Try to imagine the people who gave their lives to build it. I can't help but wonder – will anything we build today withstand the test of time with such strength, history and wonder?

Julia Yarbough, a news anchor at NBC 6 and CW News at Ten, writes periodically on her outdoor adventures. She is currently blogging about her assignment covering the Olympics in Beijing.