Celebrity Guest Blogger: Theresa

12 02 2010

Um, hi. I’m Theresa. I’m a friend of Missy’s from college who has been tagging along on this trip across China. I guess this is one of those “all I got was this lousy t-shirt” kind of things. I come all the way across the world for a visit and all I get is this blog. Oh well.

Anyways, I have been told to write about the Great Wall. Not an easy feat, as you can imagine, since it is pretty much indescribable. Our hostel, Lian Lian, arranged to take us themselves in their van and we drove about an hour and a half outside Beijing to a part of the wall that is not very traveled. Some parts have been completely redone. We’re talking a Starbucks here, people. No thanks.

So we went to a part in the town called Huang Hua, or Yellow Flower. We got out of the van at the edge of a cliff, basically, across a river from the Great Wall. Our guide, Zhang (sp?), took us down this hill and crossed the frozen river by wooden planks. Picture Indiana Jones here. On the other side was a man who lived in this little house and charged people 2 RMB to cross his property. We also paused at his display of an arctic fox he had trapped and some cute kittens which I’m sure were going to be his dinner later. So once we passed his house, it was a pretty straight up stretch of farmland up to the wall. We weren’t expecting mountain climbing on this trip but that’s what we got. At the wall was a cut out like a doorway that we were able to go into to get on the actual wall. We were the only people around and just stood there for a few minutes since we had climbed enough to get a pretty good look at this vista around us.

As we started up the actual wall, we were huffin’ and puffin,’ I’ll be honest. Some sections are flat, some stairs, some ramps that were at such a steep angle, our asses were getting the workout of a lifetime. As we continued up, every half a mile or so were the watchtowers that you could walk through that are pretty much gutted now. The indescribable part is just the unbelievable view in a complete circle around you. The wall extends out on 2 sides for as far as you can see, just following the horizon, which seems incredible to build. Then, below is the frozen river we crossed which goes about perpendicular to the wall at this point. And last, but not least, were the snow-capped mountains all around us. It was definitely cold, and there were a lot of patches of snow every once in awhile that hadn’t melted, but it was a beautiful sunny day and was just totally stunning. Words can’t describe. And we had such a blast with our guide, who was young and energetic and just jumping around everywhere. We were really on a high that day. Half altitude, half just not believing where we were at that moment.

Once we got to about the highest we wanted to go (cause we were f’ing exhausted and STARVING) we hung out for a bit and just took it all in and took some good photos. One is pictured below. On the way down, you would think it just got easier, but alas, it did not. It was quite a tiring venture. Once we got off the wall and were back climbing down the hill, we came across this old, weathered woman with a sickle, who demanded 2 more RMB to pass her part of the land. She is the self-declared keeper of the gate, basically. Supposedly people used to get hurt climbing up to the wall there, so she was the one who dug out the path to the top to make it safer. We passed our ole arctic fox owner friend and went back up to where we parked. Due to the fact that we did all of the above activity on no breakfast and no water (what the hell were we thinking?) we went into a great little restaurant right there with a view of the wall. Best fried rice. And they had the cutest dog in the history of the world. Truth.

Those are my words. Thanks be to China.

Guest blogger, out.

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2 responses

12 02 2010
SQ

Amazing photo. Nice job, Guest Blogger. Are we going to hear from Dorian, too?

14 02 2010
gl

I love the description of the climb and the wall. I think you got to see ‘the real thing.’

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