THE GREAT WALL of China
Email sucks. Use blog to keep in touch. Eight pics included here.
It was a sunny day for a walk along the wall that has been reconstucted. All 4000 km/m? of course are not accessible. Much of it has deteriorated over the millenia. Merriad info available on Google.
Leave hotel at 08:00 or there about. Tested wooden furniture displayed by a group of men on the sidewalk in front of hotel. Had my picture taken…. will I be used in a wood furniture add???? LOL.
It is an almost two hour drive…70km… from Beijing downtown thru Friday morning traffic to the Great Wall of China.
OMG!…. OMG!…. OMG!… I have walked the Great Wall of China!
There is always the hunt for a toilet and it was no less urgent when the bus after slow progress thru morning traffic and then attained a reasonable speed once a little out of the city proper. The glass skyscrapers and condos and apartments with wired in windows used for storage in some cases were left behind and one could see a farmer crouching in his field inspecting cabbages. A train runs to the Wall but it is so slow it takes five hours. That must be some interesting trip!
The toilet was found in the gift shop we encountered before walking up a newly built (2008) approach to the ticket office. There were a lot of people. Walked up the portion of the wall where there were a lot of local people. Old men and women using sticks or relatives for support. Young children scampering about in delight. Doggies without leashes gamely trotting ahead of masters. Not to be forgotten… the young crowd in outlandish collections of attire texting all the way along the Great Wall. Happily I was to have chosen this route. Interacted with a number of people and gave others the delight of posing with them for a quick foto.
Part of the wall are inclined at at least 60% and other part have shallow steps with a hand rail down the middle. Most people remembered to walk right! Thee continues to be always an the total Great Wall experience… this of course included SHOPPING and toilet breaks… I climbed only to two towers.
It was stupendous as the pics will testify but not as emotional as Macchu Picchu. Maybe the Terra Cotta Warriors will move me to tears?
Lunch at the Cloisonne place consisted sweet ans sour sauce covering all offerings except the cabbage. What is in season at the moment seems to be cabbage, watermelon and tangerine. These three appear at each meal.
Dinner offered a good variety of food BUT the service was so bad that our table… we are seven… did not even receive all the dishes. The kitchen staff was all over the place but not heading our way. Too many people were handling the plates and no one was designated to specific tables. Should I email the restaurant and organize them?? OOPS fergot…. email is less than easy to access. How did APEC members manage?
Breakfast has been stupendous each day. Coffee good, bread OK, soup delicious…yes soup is served in the morning…, rice good, eggs in all manner of preparation including turquoise duck eggs (yum), cereal, beans and bacon for the die hards, fruit in own juice and luscious yogurt which I only discovered on the last day… was too intent on eating as much seaweed, pickled cabbage and tiny dried fishas possible. As a bread substitute I ate that foot long donut you can find in any Chinese store in Toronto.
OMG… have to consult my schedule to read what was visited after the sweet and sour yukky lunch.
The Ming Tomb was much more interesting than anticipated. Of course the names of all the MingEmperors and concubines and first and second sons and nephews is as confusing as all those Leopold and Franz Josef Kaisers of the Hapsburg era.
The 6 or 8 (sorry) 600 years old sandalwood columns holding up the whole building without the aid of nails of any sort are still the original sandalwood colour… the bottoms are protected against graffiti villains by a thick plastic sleeve. All around the perimeter of the building the history of the Yongle Period is depicted in drawings, maps, artifacts and descriptions both in Mandarin and English. A very large seated statue of Zhu Di sits in the centre. Along the back wall credit is given to Zheng De who travelled seven times in fleet ships over the Western Ocean as far as the Somalian coast. Reading the book 1442 insight in the extent of Chinese sea exploration long before Cristof had the idea!
The end of each day is welcomed. Even a short lie down after the shower is dangerous. One night it was four in the morning before I did my obligatory laundry in the bathroom sink. The clothes line is embedded in the wall. Pull out the little hook, extend it to the next wall and a small whole serves as a receptacle to keep the line taut. Is this Chinese genius or was it learned from some European hausfrau?
It is hard to be in the group. The leader Lisa is very good. Am finding it hard to stand still and listen to all the talk. Am more interested in looking at the people that are thronging along with the tourists to visit these fantastic heritage sites. Lisa has a little flag on a stick with a big yellow bow at the top so I always keep that in my sight. There is also a man with a yellow coat in the group and another guy who has a Tilly hat on. One man is head and shoulders above all so he is easy to spot at a distance. Have been successful in finding the group after a wander. And can they leave a site without me? … don’t think so. But do not want to piss off Lisa. After all, am with her and the rest of the 32 people until Hong Kong, Dec 9th .
Finding toilets is most often easy even if the trek is around boulders, long line ups and opposite ends of the site. Thank goodness for the crouching toilet because it would be a shame to have to use the limited supply of toilet paper to line a conventional seat. So far a paper dispenser has been found in most toilets at the sites of interest. I poked my head into a “public” toilet … like along the street among stores and hutong doors … it looked clean and had I had the need I would not hesitate to use it. One thing though that I noticed immediately … there is no separating wall between the whole with footrests!
BUT hey if you have to go you go!
TV has a good choice of channels. Kung Fu movies, game shows, talent shows, news in Mandarin and English(one).
Once the day is done there is little time for blogging, TV or reading. Getting the dust off my face and hair and becoming horizontal are the main objectives every evening.
The Beijing Lijingwan Hotel has been quite the luxurious experience. Only email is slack but apparently its like that everywhere.
Things are good! 😉