Day Five is here, and what a long way we have come. But the picturesque scenery along the Great Wall of China in Badaling is absolutely breathtaking, and has certainly made our travels worthwhile. As the show began tonight, (it is exactly twelve hours later in China) the sun was setting on this 4000 mile span of what once served as a defense barrier. The lights along the wall give off a glow that almost looks like fire in the distance, illuminating the snake-like structure as it creeps through the Chinese landscape.
THIS LAST LEG of our trip was the longest we have made, travelling from Rome as
soon as we were done with yesterday’s show. With just one stop for fuel along
the way, our trip to Beijing was almost 12 hours. We arrived around noon local
Beijing time, just long enough to take a quick rest and then get ready for today’s show. As usual, our advance team in China (with a few extra days to prepare!) met us and quickly gave us a sense of the area. As I have at many of the stops in the past two years of the “Where In the World” trip, I found myself wishing I had more time to explore the region myself. But with our time constraints there was only an opportunity for a quick briefing on the topics and guests for the show.
The Great Wall of China is the longest structure ever built. Made of earth, stone and brick, the material used to build the wall could also be stretched out to make an eight-foot high, three-foot wide fence that could wrap around the world! Five million visitors come to the Great Wall every year. I was lucky this morning to have some very special guests who helped to make my
experience in Badaling both informative and unique.
As we wrapped up the program this morning, I had a real mixed sense of emotions. On the one hand, I am anxious to return home — not only to unpack my suitcase and stay put for a few days, but also to share the stories of my travels with my friends, family and “Today” show colleagues back in New York.
On the other hand, this trip — for both of the past two years — is truly an amazing experience. I have had the opportunity in the last five days to travel from the top of the world at Mount Everest to the ancient ruins of the Colosseum in Rome. I’ve taken a ride in an F-14 fighter, and walked a few steps along the most famous wall in the world. I have met some amazing people — they have inspired me, they have encouraged me, they have pushed me to do things I never thought I could, and they have all impressed me. I will never forget all the experiences I have had — and to think that it all happened in five quick days!
As I sign off for the last time, I must give special thanks to the crew that has traveled with me. There have also been countless people stationed around the world in the past few weeks that have put in immeasurable hours on this broadcast, as well as the many in New York that we count on every day to make the “Today” show a success. The technological feats that we were able to pull off are almost as amazing as the places we have pulled them off in...and it wasn’t easy.
So until next year, I hope the series was as interesting for you to watch as it was for me to report. Where in the world will I be next? I’ll see you from Studio 1A on Monday morning at 7 — home at last!