China 6: Great Times, Great Views, Great Wall

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Sunday we went to the Great Wall. In short, it was awesome. In long, we began our expedition at 8AM, in a van that has no comfortable position for the average human, and remained there for two hours until we arrived at the wall. Road trip! We talked a bit about our previous road trip experiences, but of course had to create one of our own. We played a song game, where we think of a word and everyone goes in a circle to think of a song that has that word in it. For example: night. “Goodnight, my someone” (Music Man), “Tonight’s gonna be a good night” (I got a feeling), “Just the way you look tonight…” (Frank Sinatra) “Can you feel the love tonight?” (Lion King)… you get the idea. You keep on going until someone runs out of ideas. Or, the way we ended up playing it, everyone runs out of ideas and is tired of sing-alongs. After we finished that, we quieted down for a pre-hike nap/rest time, so when we arrived, we could take on Subway to the best of our ability. You can’t do the Great Wall of China running on empty! It was a really early lunch, but that proved to be a good idea, because we would’ve been starved had we waited till after our hike. Of course we had to ride up to the wall in luxury – this is generally done by ski lift, which we opted for. It was a great ride, and an even greater view! I rode with Chloe (my traveling partner, accountable for my death and other such liabilities) on the lift, but we were able to see almost everyone. It was fun to give a little wave to our friends behind and in front of us!

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So here’s where your quads get worked…

Well, we had to get to the wall eventually. Once we began our walk, let’s just say it was closer to real China than before. Laborious walking, that is. Maybe it’s the steps that aren’t even, maybe it’s the fact that it’s so hilly, maybe it’s just the fact that it’s the Great Wall. Whatever it was, it was leg day. For a reason beyond my understanding, Greta and Thomas decided to race up certain parts of the wall, and then Thomas went lone-ranger on us and ran up to who knows where. We found him eventually, but it was… well, yeah, that’s what it was. We walked for maybe an hour or two, but made about a mile’s progress. Spoiler alert: it’s good exercise. So when we looked back at all our efforts, they amounted to a tiny bit. Still a great view, though. After we got the second watchtower, there was a closed off section of the wall that kept going. Naturally, we went through. We made it to the next watch tower in about 15 minutes – that’s the time it should take someone to walk from watchtower to watchtower. Once we’d gotten to the next stop, we stopped and enjoyed the view for a while. However, Sam and I decided it would be even better to go and enjoy an even bigger view of the valley below, surrounding a farther-down section of the wall. It was a short, easy, but rather destructed part of the wall – the road not taken, in other words. It was incredible. The view was amazing. I didn’t take any pictures at that view – I think some things are meant to be enjoyed. But I did take several before and after that time. Naturally, after that we trekked back. This time, it was almost just as difficult on the way down because my legs were shaking so much. We got to the end though, and then we got a toboggan ride down! I wanted to go faster but Chloe, who was in front of me, went fast, but not fast enough… All in all, it was a fun expedition and I had a blast.
After the Great Wall, we went to a restaurant that specialized in Peking duck. It took about two hours to get there, so I arranged myself in the least uncomfortable position to try and take a nap. We then arrived to an Chinese acrobatic show, which had a lot of acts (half of which weren’t really Chinese). My favorite act, though, was with two ribbon-rope things down the middle of the stage and dancers flying through the air on it. I’m sure it took a crazy amount of practice and strength, to make it that beautiful. Other acts, like the clown or motorcycles in the cage: they might’ve been exciting for some, but I wasn’t the biggest fan. But that flying… that will take your breath away.

All in all: we had a great time. We saw great views. After all, we climbed the Great Wall.

“This is a really great wall.” -Richard Nixon, upon visiting the Great Wall


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