Great Wall of China
DO NOT give false hope to poor Chinese women, they won’t stop hassling!
Take the less tourist popular spots. Better for pictures and feels more authentic. We literally only saw a handful of other people.
Get up early in China, when the weather is cooler and have a nap!
Talk to people! You never know how cool people are until you make a connection.
All drivers in Asia are bonkers thus far…..
[ Photos at the bottom ]
We arose to the gloomy mist of Beijing for our first full day in China. It was an early start to catch the tour bus out to the Wall and one that was met with pure grimace by yours truly, although our excitement was building. We opted for the Jinshanling section, due to it’s rurality and apparent peaceful serenity. The other options given to us were very tourist based and who wants to be round those guys, right?! We were tempted by Mutianyu for the slide at the end but there’s always next time…
Our journey was fairly dull, taking in the great Chinese motorway. It looked to me like a real life Wall-E scene, hazy and a tad dirty. Our group seemed rather timid but we’re very outgoing (some say annoying) and it was pretty early. We kipped before driving through the mountainous region to our entry point.
We got our tickets and were immediately scouted by the local farmers. One politely asked after saying we were beautiful, “are you interested in what we have to sell?” (loosely translated) to which I foolishly replied “maybe later!” Oh what a mistake. We were stalked the entire hike, treated like Greek Gods, being fanned and escorted with the occasional “Will you buy now? Me no money!” Eventually, we crumbled and paid 50 yuan each for a t-shirt, which actually has served us really well!
The hike itself wasn’t particularly challenging but we really engaged with our group and that’s the whole fun of travelling! Meeting new people, enjoying what they offer and bringing together different ideas and cultures. MEET OUR GROUP!
We even had a mad race to the end of the Wall just to say we had reached the end as we were getting pushed for time.
We departed and in true Asia style, our bus stopped off at a local restaurant for a buffet style meal. Of course, bearing a nut allergy, I had to be awkward and hand over my google translated iPhone message to try and tell them their food might kill me! I must be .. Nuts !!!
The coach journey back was friendly and interactive but the real highlight was a certain store we drove past. Having travelled around South East Asia and sampling their finest cuisine, when we saw the sun poking through the smog on a 7/11, we thought we would be back in banana bread 7/11 heaven all over again.
We then arranged to go see a kung fu show with a couple of the guys from the Great Wall of China (or GWoC for short) and were flabbergasted when the scantily priced shows stock had risen. Thankfully, one of the guys we were with bargained us a deal due to the acute Chinese she spoke. The show wasn’t particularly worth the aggro of saving 100 yuan or whatever it was, although those little Bruce Lee Jackie Chan kids could certainly kick some ass. Another highlight was the mildly indifferent spelling for the Ladies toilet. Instead, inviting laddies to enter the lavatory…
We went back to Tiananmen Square, got some family din-dins with the crew and hit the hay.
Safe to say that the GWoC is certainly symbolic of Chinese culture and heritage. The pride and continuous efforts to maintain this monumental wonder is admirable and is certainly a must in Asia.