We woke up to the twittering of birds in a tree just outside our room in Lake Powell Resort. I made a cup of coffee and stepped outside onto the balcony. The sun was lighting up the hills and the air had a warm dryness to it. Today we would be visiting Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. The weather was perfect for the visit.
We left Grand Canyon early the next day en route to Monument Valley. This was the main attraction for me. I grew up watching Hollywood movies. I still remember dialogs and scenes from these epics; John Wayne galloping across the three iconic buttes in Stagecoach, Clint Eastwood climbing the Totem Pole in Eiger Sanction and the title song “Old Turkey Buzzard” in MacKenna’s Gold, as the buzzard effortlessly zooms over the valley floor “waiting for something down below to die”. These scenes and many more were filmed in Monument Valley. And I could not wait to see the place where these still vividly remembered movies were shot.
The Grand Canyon, one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and Monument Valley, where countless Wild West movies were shot—these and nearby Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park were on my bucket list for a long, long time. I had been itching to see them but the Corona virus had thrown a monkey wrench into the plans. But with the vaccine, the tide was turning. People were beginning to travel and lead at least a semblance of their normal lives. I was ready to go!
The Great Wall of China, one of the wonders of the ancient world—so we had learnt from elementary school. And in a few hours, I would be on it! I mulled on this for a moment. The movie—The Great Wall, starring a buff Brad Pitt and the very attractive Tian Jing passed through my mind. The various sections of the wall had been built over a long period of time, in fact many centuries, to keep marauding hordes from the north ravaging the empire, with mixed success. In some countries walls are being contemplated, even today, to prevent being overrun by so called “hordes”. It seems history keeps repeating itself. Why don’t we ever learn from it?
After concluding my business in Wenzhou I had planned to visit Beijing for a couple of days on my way back to the US. How could I miss an opportunity to see the Great Wall, one of the wonders of the ancient world and the Forbidden City immortalized in Bernado Bertolucci’s epic movie ‘The Last Emperor’! According to plan, I landed at Beijing’s vast, sprawling airport primed for an exciting trip.