China: The Great Wall
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Lesson: The Great Wall of China

Setting the scene:

      Previous guides, Mister Ching and Mei, accompany the family on a side trip to the Great Wall of China. The family later travels to Shanghai for two days.
      The morning sky contains a sprinkling of clouds at high altitude. Birds chirp and flit from trees in a park near the family's hotel. Mei walks ahead of her uncle to greet the family.

People in This Story:
  • Ching (old man); Dad; Mei (guide); Mom; Mel; Wes
  • Brand Name or Company Name item is in green.
  • Slang terms are linked to the Slang Dictionary. Click on the term to view its meaning.
  • "Speed Talk" is in pink; meaning is in [brackets].


    Mei:       Good morning. I hope you had a pleasant night's rest. Are you ready to see the wall now?

    Wes:       You bet! Let's get it on.

    Mei:       Get it on? Do you mean to get dressed? I do not understand your slang.

    Mel:       [Laughing] Wes, you shouldn't try to snow Mei. She's not used to much of our slang.

    Wes:       I'm sorry, Mei. I forgot. Sometimes it's tough to clean up my habit of speaking in slang and idioms. Americans usually talk this way. So, maybe this is a good chance for you to practice hearing it.

    Mom:       A little practice is fine, son. But too much can be an overload. You should watch it.

    Ching:    Good morning to you all. Our vehicle is parked near here. We should leave now.

    Dad:       Good Morning, Mister Ching. Looks like we're ready to go.

    Ching:    Very good. I made arrangements for your visit to a very popular location on the wall. It also is a beautiful place.

    [They arrive at Mutian Ravine. People ride a gondola to reach the wall.]

    Mel:       That was a fun ride. Do we return the same way?

    Ching:    No. On the return, you must ride a one-person tobaggan. It has wheels and a brake, so you don't go too fast down the mountain.

    Wes:       Count me in! That'll be a blast!

    Mel:       Right! Last one down the mountain is a rotten egg.

    Mei:       [Laughing] You say such strange things. But we Chinese have funny sayings, too. Such as: "It is difficult to pull a cow up the tree." Another is: "Let the dragon out to sea."

    Mom:       What do they signify? What do those sayings mean?

    Mei:       A cow doesn't climb, so it means: "You cannot force someone to do something that they hate."

    Mel:       That makes sense. But why the dragon and the sea? It's kinda [kind of] strange.

    Ching:    It represents a person who is free to do something that normally is not allowed.

    Wes:       Something like Mom letting Dad eat junk food whenever he drives us on a trip?

    Mei:       Yes. That's a good comparison, Wes.

    Dad:       Back to the Great Wall. We should start climbing before we run out of time.

    Mel:       Don't get bossy, Dad. We still have a few hours to go.

    Mom:       This is beautiful! Mister Ching, have you ever visited the Li River? I would enjoy seeing that area.

    Ching:    Yes, many years ago. It truly is lovely, with pointed mountains and reflecting water. Unfortunately, it is very far from here.

    [The family continues to walk along the wall before returning to Beijing. They later visit Xi'an, where emperor Qin Shihuang was entombed--along with 7,000 clay characters and horses. Click here to see the following story: Terracotta Warriors.]

  • © Page Publisher: Duane R. Hurst