The Great Wall

Trip Start Feb 25, 2008
Trip End Feb 28, 2008

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Where I stayed

Flag of China  , Beijing,
Saturday, March 1, 2008

In the morning of the third day, I woke up very early and headed for Downtown Backpackers Accommodation again. I found a miserable pedicab near Qianmen, but the driver didn't know where the hostel was. So I couldn't help navigating him in the area I didn't know well. As a result, we were lost and the driver gave up taking me to the hostel. Actually, we passed by the hostel, but I didn't realize it because it was still closed. So it didn't take me long to find the hostel. I don't remember how many people joined the tour, maybe about 10 people joined, but all of them but me were Europeans and half of them looked British. 

The Great Wall Hiking Trip
I am not affiliated with the tour agent, but I recommend the tour.
When we arrived at Jinshanling Great Wall, we were introduced to a native guide, but a few other ladies followed us in the beginning. I didn't know who they were at first, because they helped me take pictures on the way, but later I realized they were just venders. When I told them that I am Japanese, they looked delighted. Probably for Japanese were likely to buy suvenirs from them, particularly from kind venders who help us take a picture. They had some picture books and postcards, but I was not interested, although I was sorry about that. Eventually they were gone. From then on, all I did on the wall was to walk, climb, and take pictures. It was very hot on the wall. Even though I had bought new gloves in the shopping street, they were totally useless. At the border of Jinshanling and Simatai, I gave a Simatai entrance ticket to a ticket collector. Simatai wall part where we walked was shorter than Jinshanling part, but it had a suspension bridge and toboggan slide and I liked them. Then after a 3 hour walk from Jinshanling, I finally reached the goal at Simatai, where the tour bus was waiting. The hike on the wall was one of the best experiences I have ever had and I could recommend it to anybody healthy.

The Lying Dragon: The Great Wall of China
Restoring workers keep rhythm in their simple job to restore the wall.
After the tour broke up at the Downtown B.P. hostel, I found something interesting near there. That was a massage parlor whose window menu had physical therapy. I am a physical therapist and so I felt like trying it on the spot. In fact, it was just a microwave over the whole body. It was comfortable after a long hike on the Great Wall, but not fun. Then I dropped by the dumpling shop again and dined in there.

After dinner, I went shopping in Wangfujing, where was a stall vending sticks of strange creatures like scorpioes, crickets, and chrysalises. In the beginning, I intended to eat them, but the creatures were still moving and so I got scared and gave up. Then I went into an accessory shop and at its entracne, I found a nice one for only 10 RMB. I liked it as a gift for a friend and I tried to buy it at the booth, but they took me to the second floor just to pay 10 RMB and then back to the booth to give me the accessory there. It was complicated, but a common Chinese shop system. I had to do the same thing in the shop next-door.

Then I walked up to Tiananmen to look for the bus terminal where I was supposed to take a bus to the airport. Eventually, I couldn't find it, but I happened to see a beautiful night view of Tiananmen Gate and the square in front of it. On my way back to my hostel, there were a few guys flying kites beside the Square. That was what I had planned to do!! I almost forgot it!! However, I was so tired that I passed by them without flying a kite. Luckily, even though it was late in the evening, I found the restaurant at the corner of Qianmen open. I had a noodle soup there. Then I headed to my hostel. When I entered my room, I realized some stuff like a alarm clock, Beijing map, shampoo bottle and towel were gone from around my bed. They were not valuables, but I was disappointed at the hostel again, although I found all of them in the bathroom later. In the hostel, I was lying on the bed for a while, but my flight was so early in the morning that I thought I could miss it, if I slept tight. Resultingly, I didn't get to sleep and left the hostel.

When I left the hostel, I got back 50 yuan deposite, which was really needed to take a taxi to the airport! Luckily, in a minute, I found a parked taxi in which the driver was sleeping. To tell a taxi driver my destination, I had a strip of paper on which I wrote "Capital Airport" in Chinese characters, because I knew some Chinese drivers didn't speak English. It was easy for me to write Chinese characters, because I am Japanese, and the strip was useful to make myself understood.
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