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03 January 2008 @ 12:00 pm
Two weeks in China: day 3 {The Great Wall}  
The Great Wall of China... I can check one of the wonders of the world off of my list. <3 I can't really say how I felt standing on top of the wall, other than.. dwarfed. I wasn't sure whether I wanted to yell, filling the endless sky with my voice, or whether I really didn't dare to make a sound; to break the utter silence only existing miles away from civilization. Walking alone for a while at the top of the wall, I could just see in my mind the soldiers walking it in the past, using it as a real functional wall and not as some amazing feat of engineering as we see it today.

Most people don't know that the Great Wall is actually a series of pieces, rather than a single wall stretching across China. The pieces served to protect the Chinese empire from 5 BC and on from invasion by the Mongolians and other countries to the North. It's the largest structure built by humans in the world, both in terms of length, surface area, and mass.

The section that I went to was the Mutianyu Great Wall. It's about 90minutes by car from Beijing, and we took a van with some other tourists. I went with Greg's French friend Laura, and her Egyptian friend Noha. It was very multi-cultural. XD Because we decided to walk, and I am very bad with stairs (asthma?), we separated and caught up at various times during the day. It was REALLY cold on the wall, though after the climb it didn't feel so. The weather was clear at times and foggy at others, and I'd say that we spent several hours or so on top of the wall, exploring the various features. What I really liked was that there weren't many people. It was, in a way, awe-inspiring. =D

Laura took this picture of me on a camel at a tourist spot, XD. Gah, it was so retarded, but I couldn't resist! ^^;;

The Great Wall- Mutianyu.

Looking down the steep stairs while I tried to catch my breath halfway up to the wall from the village below..

Looking up, there's still so much more to go!

And finally I see it!!

Some rocks. XD

Looking out as I'm about to enter the wall itself. =D

The valley floor below, from the top of the wall.

And more wall off in the distance.

This is one of the battlements, where soldiers would stand watch between patrols. At it's peak, the wall was guarded by more than 2 million people! :O

From up close and personal, to far off in the distance..

There are many, many stairs..

I'll mostly let the pictures try to tell the tale of how I felt on top of the wall.. I think that they capture the spirit really well...

Why yes, I can shoot a cannon!

And just a testament to how short ancient people really were...

There was a man with a donkey, way up on the side of the wall..

This is China.

Could you enter here...?  Maybe in days long past, perhaps..

That night for dinner, I rejoined my friend Greg and his boyfriend Shi Lei. Shi Lei can't speak any english, nor me any Chinese, but I think we became pretty good friends by the end of the trip anyways. ^^

Shi Lei took the two of us to dinner at a really nice chinese place kind of in the middle of nowhere. There, I had..

Peking duck! In Peking! =DWooooow, was it tender and juicy and just... MELTS in your mouth <3

Cow.. intestine. ^^;; I had this several times, and it's pretty rubbery and strange. But it doesn't really have a taste it's own, so when it's dribbled in delicious sauces it's pretty good! ^^

Some really delicious wrap-things that we had to make ourselves! Mmm!

And, OMG.. I don't know the names of these, but they're mochi with red bean paste in the middle, covered with sesame seeds and fried. They have these at Chinese restaurants in America, but I've never really liked them. Nor do I like japanese bean paste. But THIS is SO MUCH BETTER!! I was in love and asking for them constantly at every restaurant from there on out! It wasn't chalky, it was just so much yuuuuum! <3

I think, really, that being on the Great Wall of China for the first time is something that I'm going to remember for the rest of my life. I will never, ever forget standing on the top of the wall, utterly alone and cold, and revolving around, the sky and landscape stretching out around me for miles. It was so quiet, and so wild.. so alone. I can't even really describe it, but I will always remember how it made me feel.  I think it was a life-changing experience, one that I hope to repeat, someday, with good friends.

Being there, I started to really feel that I am in China. China, the huuuuuuge country with such a long and wartorn, but strangely beautiful past. It was the beginning of something really great, in more ways than one. ^__^

Next: The Lama temple (Emperor's residence..).

キモさ満々♡ 미친 외국인: COFFEE GOES IN COFFEE GOES INdilettantka on January 3rd, 2008 01:05 pm (UTC)
UNF the goma age-dango looks so good .. I MEAN THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA. 8D;; that's nice too.

Fantastic pictures!! I can't believe they're not full of tourists.