Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Great Wall Outing #1

We went to one of the less popular sections of the great wall and hiked 8 km between Jinshaling and Simitai.  The group was Matt, Claire, Benjamin, Sarah and I, and we left from our hostel at 6:30AM.  According to Claire (the most French person I have ever met) "This is the first time I have watched the sunrise."  Luckily, it was a 3 hour drive, so we got to catch up on sleep a little bit.  

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.  

1 comment:

Beth said...

You are probably going to end up making multiple trips to the great wall but it sounds pretty exciting. See you in a few weeks. Mom