LIFE> Odds and Ends
A wall of dreams comes true
By Chen Xiaorong (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-06-26 09:51

(From left) Jim Spear, elder daughter Lauren, wife Tang Liang, and daughter Emily.

Nearly 30 years ago in Berkeley, California, Jim Spear engaged Tang Liang, a young woman from Beijing, who was then a Chinese language tutor.

The couple now has two grown children and live in China, where they run their own rustic canteen at the foot of the Great Wall.

In a courtyard at the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, the couple greets guests and chats leisurely with friends over coffee and homemade desserts.

Schoolhouse Great Wall Hamburger.

The courtyard is named The Schoolhouse as it was renovated from an abandoned elementary school. Classrooms have been turned into office space, a canteen and kitchen, as well as a place for restrooms and meeting rooms.

An adjacent warehouse has been turned into a glass-blowing workshop that also serves as a gallery. On the roof terrace guests can take in a stunning view of the valley and the Great Wall above.

"Some people who open restaurants are gourmets. I just feel lucky that I can enjoy our casual Western and fusion dishes using local ingredients while having a wonderful view of the Great Wall," says Tang, grinning.

"This couple is remarkable. They have done an excellent job creating a menu based on foods of local origin. Sitting in the courtyard, one can experience the silence of the environment and the gentle breeze that blows down from the Great Wall," says James Zimmerman, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce China, who recently visited the canteen.

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