Great Wall at SiMaTai

Trip Start Jul 28, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Sunday, March 9, 2008

It had been a melancholy weekend in Beijing.  I was suffering from the flu.  It was hazy in the city and no one wanted to go outside.  Then, Saturday evening, I got a call from a friend of a friend named Jonas, asking if I wanted to join him and eight of his German colleagues on a trip to the Great Wall on Sunday.  They had rented a van for the day and needed extra bodies.  They also needed someone who could speak Chinese.  This was music to my ears.  I was more than willing to offer my body, and my linguistic abilities, to them for the day.

The spot they chose on the wall was a more remote location called SiMaTai, about a two-hour drive from Beijing, and not the usual tourist trap BaDeLing.  As you'll see from the pictures, SiMaTai is restored in parts and falling apart in others.  The falling apart parts make you realize just how ancient the wall is.  They also add a sense of adventure to the trip.  They are also a good weeding out mechanism for those less hearty tourists.  If you have a sturdy pair of hiking boots, and don't mind sweating a little bit, I highly recommend a hike on the Wall at SiMaTai.

On a final note, if you ever have the chance, I highly recommend visiting the Great Wall with a group of Germans who aren't shy about making Berlin Wall jokes.  Almost as soon as we had arrived, the group was already saying things like, "Mr. Gorbachev...tear down this wall!"  Jokes like that continued throughout the day, to my great amusement.

But enough of my blabbering...I shall let the pictures do the rest of the talking.  
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