The Great Wall

Trip Start May 18, 2005
Trip End May 18, 2006

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Flag of China  ,
Sunday, May 22, 2005

The Great Wall. Something I've always wanted to see. We set out from the hostel at about 7am, on a bus with some lunatic driver who seemed intent on getting into at least one fatal accident. I swear there were about 10 times when I thought my number was up. Lets just say the driving was a bit risque to say the least. Overtaking big trucks on a bend on a narrow road with oncoming traffic is not a pleasant experience. We came off the road a couple of times during the journey too , one time to avoid a cow in the road!!

Anyway, we reached a small village called Jinsanglin at the foot of a mountain. The wall was up on top. We had to walk 10k to Simatai along the wall. This is the least commercial part of the wall, and the one with the best views. When we got onto the wall my first impression was WOW!!! It really is magnificent. For as far as you can see in either direction the wall just goes on and on. The walk was easy at first but gets steeper and more treacherous as you go on. At times you could easily have fallen over the edge as the wall was crumbling away, especially on the steep parts. And there are sheer drops on either side of it too. Very dangerous. There were times when you felt like throwing some of the pesky locals over the edge, they keep pestering you for money and trying to charge you for using the wall. They're just chancing their arm though. But they can be very persistent, not good when you've just climbed up a steep mountain when it's 30 degrees out and they won't get out of your way.

It was a great experience, if tiring at times, especially when there was no shade.

At the end, as if the wall wasn't dangerous enough by itself, we had to go back to the hostel with the same lunatic driver!! If you're gonna be getting buses in China, my advice is to just close your eyes, what you can't see won't give you 17 heart attacks!!
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