Obamas climb Great Wall after lunch of trout

Updated: 2014-03-24 03:30

By Sun Yuanqing and Sun Li (China Daily)

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US first lady Michelle Obama visited the Great Wall's Mutianyu section on Sunday and became a heroine, if an old Chinese saying is to be believed.

"You're no hero until you reach the Great Wall," said Li Lin, a souvenir vendor, repeating the saying.

Obamas climb Great Wall after lunch of trout 

Wall walkers: US first lady Michelle Obama and her daughters Malia (left) and Sasha visit the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall in suburban Beijing on Sunday. ZHU XINGXIN / CHINA DAILY 

"She looks more fabulous than on TV," Li said of Obama. "But it would be great if she would stop by my shop."

Upon her arrival, Obama signed her name on a guest book and wrote: "My family and I will treasure this visit. It is truly a privilege and an honor to experience this wonder."

At about 3 pm, Obama — accompanied by her daughters, Malia and Sasha — hiked on the wall for about an hour.

Mutianyu, one of the best-preserved parts of the Great Wall, is in Huairou district, 70 km northeast of central Beijing.

Before the hike on the Great Wall, Obama and her family attended a luncheon at the Schoolhouse, a dining and lodging venue known for its food and community improvement work. The Schoolhouse was set up by US citizens Jim Spear and his wife Tang Liang.

The family had a private meal in one of the Schoolhouse's "classrooms".

"We have been preparing since 7 am. It's basically a fusion of the local and Western flavors," Tang said of the menu.

The meal started with baked cakes with preserved garlic and pesto, as well as lotus root chips.

The main courses included pan-fried rainbow trout, stewed pork served over pulled noodles and vegetarian dumplings with hot sauce and vinegar. The meal finished with brownies, cheesecake and ice cream.

Two local farmers and amateur musicians played erhu, a classic Chinese two-string instrument, to add some "Chinese flavor", Tang said.

"We introduced the history of the place and left them alone for some privacy. They were eating, talking and laughing. It was a good time," she said.

Sunday is the fourth day of Obama's first China visit.

Contact the writers at sunyuanqing@chinadaily.com.cn and sunli@chinadaily.com.cn