Me and Chairman Mao
Trouble is what you know you are in when you are at a bar, it's just past eleven at night, and this appears on your table ...

Yes, there's 24 shots in there, for those of you who are counting. And it cost just about $24 US, so that's some nice symmetry. At least, as far as mathematical-type terms apply to large quantities of alcohol. But I guess that's the kind of thing that happens on vacation? (The Chinese get a week off for May Day--starting May 1--so a lot of people here are currently on holiday, as they say. Or at least they do if you are in the UK, from the UK, or hanging out with people from the UK.)

Anyway, as part of our holiday, we went on a group outing--the end of which is pictured above--to a section of the Great Wall called Jian Kuo, which was very cool. It's a "Wild Wall" section, which means that it's not an official tourist part, which in turn means that it hasn't been restored, which again in turn means no restaurants, no souvenir stands--or people trying to pull you into souvenir stands, which is nice; no slides AKA nonirrigated farmland sleds; and no zip lines. No, Jian Kuo didn't have any of those things: just a cleared dirt area for a parking lot and a really, really gross bathroom that a short old Chinese lady made us pay six cents each to use. Then, once you parked, you made your own way up through the woods to the crumbling Wall and basically just went wherever you wanted, scrambling on all fours up disintegrating stairways and pulling yourself onto the tops of decaying towers. It was very, very fun.

Needless to say, there are pictures--too many, as usual--which I will hopefully post tomorrow. But for now, we are going to head out to the Summer Palace for a picnic, since it will be nice to see the place when things are in bloom and it's actually sunny and warm. As opposed to, say, this picture, taken when the weather was not quite so pleasant ...
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