I am being a lazy correspondent and publishing Margot's email from today, so this is not original, but more interesting than my usual ramblings. So here it is... "Hey Everyone,
Tom sorry I have not written to you yet, I'm a buttface. Hope you are doing well in Columbus. Say hi to Stephanie for me. Hope everyone is doing well back home. I'm still getting used to the time difference in terms of when to call, when to expect emails, and since my cell phone is my alarm clock each night is a mathematical battle for me to figure out when to set my alarm so that it corresponds with when I want to get up China time since it is currently on California time and not East Coast time. Fun stuff.
So, yesterday we road bikes to the course, which took about 15 minutes and was a lot of fun. It was also a good way to warm up. I took some video of us goofing around with my digital camera and had a good laugh when I downloaded it to my computer yesterday. BTW I have connected skype and gotten my headphones/camera going so if you want to tell me your skype numbers or what i need to do to call you on skype we can try to do that. Anyway, we rowed 16k around 9:30 and before we went out Matt told us that we would have the afternoon off and would be taking a short trip to a section of the great wall. It was quite a nice surprise and one I didn't think we would experience until after competition.
So we took a 1:30 bus to Bahoi Village? I think, but I may be wrong and it took about an hour to get there with lots of windy roads and through towns and lots of people on bikes leaping out in front of us. It was fairly hot out but the bus had ac so we didn't sweat until we go there. And boy did we sweat once we got there. I will say this, bring tennis shoes whenever you go sight seeing and anticipate a lot of walking, so also bring lots of water, hand sanitizer and even some toilet paper of you own as the bathrooms have neither soap nor tp in them and they are stinky and not super clean. Also, bring bars or nuts or some sort of snack with you. Another thing to be aware of is the onslaught of people getting in your face to buy beer, food, t-shirts, anything they can sell you. They will say "One dolla" but then will quote you fifty if you are about to buy something. Even though it seems mean, always always offer 1/4 of what they say and stick to your guns because they are counting on taking advantage of you. Nate I'm sure you will be able to handle this and they will ask how tall you are and probably giggle a little bit. They also take US dollars but don't be fooled, one US dollar is still a lot more than you should pay for some of the stuff but they will try to get two out of you every time.
Anyway, shoes, water, food, sanitizer/tp, and be prepared to sweat and walk a lot up steep and uneven terrain. But, I will tell you it is so worth it. We paid 90 total for a gondola ride to the top and back down and for access to the wall. But, it is frickin amazing. I will send some pics later today and maybe put some on facebook, but you really can't believe you are in such a place. I wish Reilly could have been there to see it and can't wait for you to see it and hope that if you aren't going on the trip now, someday you will be able to. Its just really awesome. The mountains and view are pretty spectacular and I felt very lucky to be there. It was a lot of fun.
So, that's the update for now. We may be doing some pieces this morning so I'm going to go get in the zone. JK. I'm gonna go read a little before we ride over to the course. Also, mom would you resend the map of where your hotel is cause my computer didn't recognize the program or something.
I love you all and love hearing from you when you get a chance. I'm taking lots and lots of pictures and having a great time and the rowing is great too.
Talk to you soon.