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The Great Wall at Mutianyu

The Great Wall at Mutianyu

I finally made it to The Great Wall in China. For the rest of my life when people ask, “Oh, you lived in China. Did you go to The  Great Wall?”, I can finally say YES! It only took me 3 years to get there, but I made it!

It was exactly as I imagined, an impressive masterpiece. Walking on history, we climbed the steps of one of the most famous structures ever built. I recalled the days when the existence of  The Great Wall was the most I knew about China.

Friends advised that we hire a driver (700RMB, roundtrip), go to Mutianyu, and get there early. It would also be my recommendation to you. The drive was about 90 minutes, through small towns and fruit orchards, and at 8:30 it was quiet and calm. The air crisp, the crowds not yet arrived. In a word, perfect!

We took the cable car to the top, turned right and walked to the end of the wall, looked at the unrestored part overgrown with trees standing like proud soldiers, walked back, AND took an awesome toboggan down! I recommend waiting as long as you can after the person in front of you, the more space between you and the person in front of you, the faster you can go!

The Great Wall at Mutianyu

The Great Wall at Mutianyu

The Great Wall at Mutianyu

The Great Wall at Mutianyu

The Great Wall at Mutianyu

The Great Wall at Mutianyu
That’s the unrestored part of the wall.



The Great Wall at Mutianyu

The Great Wall at Mutianyu



Things to remember:

*I recommend hiring a driver to take you there. It’s about 700RMB, depending on who you get. The driver will wait for you so you can stay for as long or as little as you like. Your friends in Beijing or your hotel can help arrange this for you.
*Arrive early to avoid crowds.
*Wear comfy shoes, there are a lot of steps!
*At Mutianyu, you can go left or right after the cable car. Left is easier, right is more difficult. If you go right and walk to the end you can see the unrestored part of the wall.
*Even when buying water you must haggle or you will be charged 10RMB for 1 bottle (outrageous!!). Don’t pay more than 5RMB for a bottle.

*When taking the toboggan down, wait as long as you can before taking off. The more space between you and the person in front of you, the faster you can go, go, gooooooooo!!!!!


Dr. Ho, Chinese Medicine Man


Dr. Ho, 91 year old Chinese medicine man in Baisha, China, posed for a pinhole portrait!


I was traveling through Yunnan Province and that morning had received some potentially sad news that someone very dear to me might have cancer… again (turns out she didn’t!!). During breakfast I was inquiring about what to do in Baisha, and my hotel told me about Dr. Ho, who will let me touch his baby soft skin, and has cured many diseases, including cancer.


While meandering around the tiny village of Baisha, I found him and his lovely wife. When I arrived he was showing off his German language skills to a German family. His wife was sitting on a bench along the wall and Dr. Ho was the star of the show. Before I could tell him about my friend, he started pointed out articles framed on his wall, his backyard, and his baby soft skin! He was such a delightful man.

Once I told him about my friend he got to work on making a 3 month supply of tea straight away. All tea ingredients are found in his backyard garden and on Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Watching him work was an an experience I hadn’t imagine I’d have in China. His workroom walls were lined with powered herbs and secret ingredients. I can still smell that wonderful Chinese Medicine smell!!

He gave me the tea with instructions, a way to reorder, and left me with the advice that smiling and being happy is the best medicine. If you’re interested in learning Chinese medicine and acupuncture, he takes the occasional student!
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Lian Hua Shan Park

Today I walked through Lian Hua Shan Park (Lotus Flower Mountain Park), with my friend and her husband. We were doing a pinhole maternity shoot, but I managed to snap a few photos along the way.

When we reached the top the sky was so interesting.


It was threatening to rain the whole morning, but we only got caught in one shower, and it was so beautiful to watch the rain fall on the lake and lotus flowers.



On our way out of the park, I saw one of those Chinese things I only hear about. Getting married here is a big deal, and it must be done at a young age. Soooo parents and grandparents will post ads in parks to grab the attention of other parents looking for their single children. So crazy!





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From my iPhone

Wow! I’m moving up in the world. I’m writing this blog from my iPhone. Technology is crazy wonderful.

I haven’t been blogging, but life has definitely moving at lightening speeds.

I had a goal of scoring more than 550 in WWF. Can you believe it!!! I did it!!! Now I have to get over 600 points. Also at this very moment, I have won the last 10 out of 10 games. If you want to play with me, I’m daisyjellybean.




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Julie Chiu – maternity pinhole portraits

I spent a lovely afternoon in Hong Kong Park with Julie Chiu, author of Mindful Eating Adventure Time, a week before her due date. Radiant with baby glow we meandered through the park, a conservatory, a bird park, and had afternoon dim sum at a quaint tea museum.

Julie is also into LOA (laws of attraction) and can help you manifest to your hearts content.

Here are my favorite pinhole portraits from our shoot. Interested in a pinhole portrait?

Isn’t she the cutest!






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Where’s the most unusual place you’ve slept?

My grandmother's house. Concordia, Missouri. July 2012

My grandmother’s house. Concordia, Missouri. July 2012.


I am always so grateful when my pinhole photographs are published, and this time by one of my favorite websites, Visual News. A blog with multiple uploads (daily!), oozing with creativity. It’s one of my go-to websites for inspiration, and to be featured on it, well, it’s a pretty good feeling!!  They featured ‘Sleeping. Dreaming’, an ongoing 10 year project, pinholing all the different places I find myself sleeping.

Please enjoy this article on Visual News!

Visual News

I think the most unusual place I’ve slept is Kowloon Park, a bird sanctuary in Hong Kong. It was New Year’s Eve and my friends and I didn’t secure a hotel. We were unsteadily stumbling around the city trying to find a corner to rest and we asked a jogging pilot if this tunnel would take us to the waterfront.  He said yes, but was curious as to why we wanted to go there at this hour.  We told him, and he lead us to this park, a much safer location.  We cautiously looking both ways before we tucked ourselves in behind some trees. Two hours later a park attendant poked me, waving her hands around, and speaking Chinese.  Even if I didn’t understand her words, I’ve gotten pretty good at charades to know it was time to go. As my eyes adjusted to the light, I listened to a concert announcing the first sunrise of the year and realized I was surrounded by birds! So Magical!

Where is the most interesting/unusual place you’ve slept? 

Kowloon Park (bird sanctuary). Hong Kong

Kowloon Park (bird sanctuary). Hong Kong. January 2012.