Monday, April 02, 2001

China 2001 - The Great Wall

Since we had a driver, we left first thing in the morning. After an hour we got to the bottom of the hill. Now there is this huge hill to just get to the wall- we were lazy and took the cable car. The wall at minatory has 2 ways to go when you get to the top of the cable cars. To the left is a huge hill that only crazy people try to concur and the easier flat way to the right. We went left. After some regular walking we arrived at the steepest longest set of stairs I have seen. There where no more vendors out this far so it was just a quiet climb to the top. By the time that I got to the top of where they let you go I was wheezing and starting to feel sick, but at least I beat L. and T.. After resting my curiosity got the best of me and I continued past the restored area up to the highest point of the wall for miles around. I could see for miles on the north side of the wall. The south side was smoggy from Beijing. It was weird to think that thousands of years ago before smog that they still had the technology to find the defining mountain ridge that split the north and the south. It just took a few thousand years of smog to prove they were right.
There is a saying that you are not a true man until you have walked on the great wall, it is something that a lot of people in china aspire to do since there is a huge amount of pride for having the great wall in china, but most people cannot afford to see what I did. It was a humbling experience.
On the way down the stairs vertigo starts to set in, people lean back and the stairs feel like they start to lean away from you. On the way back to our starting point we were all in agreement that they had been building stairs that we didn't remember seeing before. Going the other direction on the wall there where more venders. Instead of taking the cable car back down they had an alpine slide, it was a blast flying down the mountain. A perfect ending to a surreal trip to something that I could not believe I was doing and never thought that I would.

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