Well, if we weren’t in China before, we certainly are now!
The Great Wall of China is… well… Great (that one’s for you, Steven). Great actually doesn’t begin to describe the feeling of being on the Great Wall; it is a completely mind-blowing experience. Standing on the wall, you can follow it with your eyes going either direction and reach the horizon.
We traveled to the Jinshaling area of the Great Wall. This section is about a three-hour drive outside of center city Beijing. It’s said to be one of the least touristy of the areas you can visit – most people don’t want to spend so much time driving when there are areas much closer to Beijing. But another reason some don’t visit is that it’s never been restored. It’s raw. At some points, I’d say it’s an actual difficult hike, and for a tourist attraction, most Americans I imagine would question where the guard rails are at. No dice – if you’re unfortuante enough to fall off, it’s your fault.
Surprisingly, even with the dangerous hike, there are still vendors who’ve hauled up their wares – water, t-shirts, guide books, etc. – they follow sometimes too closely as you navigate the steep steps or ask when you’re clearly too out of breath to speak to buy an “I climbed up the Great Wall” t-shirt. The only purchase we made was two beers at the end of our hike, in honor of our friend Dong-Ning, who gave us the advice to visit this section of the wall (and to always drink beer, since you can be sure it’s safe to drink). 干杯, Dong-Ning!
More to come…
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