One of the strangest happenstances of the day was that every tourist was singled out by a local Chinese person who walked with the group and acted all nice and kind of annoying before trying to guilt people into buying things halfway through. I am glad to not burdened with an excessive sense of compassion.
The scenery was beautiful, with mountains on either side fading into the haze. It was really interesting to walk on a mix of refurbished and crumbling sections of the wall to get a sense of the age of the thing. Somehow, I also didn't expect there to be so many stairs on the wall. I guess I should have known, since they built it across the impassable mountain ridges. It was quite a hike, but very awe-inspiring. To think they built it without excavators and cranes and bulldozers. Crazy stuff. The Chinese people are actually fiercely proud of the wall, despite the horrifying death toll its construction bears.