Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Great Wall of China (万里长城) Part 2

Erm... Watch for.. what? Other heart cerebral disease sufferers?

Yes, it was this narrow in some parts, especially when ascending to the observation decks at the watch towers. But the climb was worth it for the view it afforded me.

Lovely ain't it? A small pavillion perched atop a hill where one can enjoy the lovely colours of autumn, sipping aromatic jasmine tea while a nubile maid plucks a soothing tune on her yangqin.....

"Hello friend...." my buddy interrupts the lovely day dream with a tap on the shoulder, beckoning me to continue on our journey.... Here we go again....

Erm.. cross what? The walkway's only a few feet wide. It's impossible to not cross from the left to the right .... plus the wall's ten metres high, so there's nothing to cross to. Oh... maybe this sign was put up by the Emperors way back when to ward off would-be Mongolian and Manchurian attackers.

By this time, most of the our tour members have given up, so only the two of us, Aaron and I, were left to brave our way up the hill, fighting against the elements and groaning calf muscles. The falling temperatures and wind chill factor didn't exactly help matters though.

At sixth station, the locals have set up t-shirt, souvenir and refreshment stands. And we noticed the prices were higher than the ones at the foot of the hill. They even had a stand where you could have an official certificate stating that you have made it thus far up the Wall, for only 50 yuan!

I have to admit, the higher or farther you go, the bluer the sky, the better the view, and the fewer the tourists.

The view at the 'top' was indeed breathtaking, with the lovely orange and reddish hues of the autumn leaves blanketing the ragged hills that surround the Wall on both sides.

We decided to stop at the eighth station, since it became apparent that each subsequent tower looked the same as the one before and our legs were beginning to shake.

And so, as proof of our heroic trek up the Great Wall, here's a victory pic of me at the eighth tower... notice the lack of people and the tiny buildings down below.

Even descending proved to be quite a challenge as the steep and narrow steps meant we had to approach it sideways and hold on to the side railings so that our ever-wobbly legs don't give up on us.

Finally we made it back down to base camp. The plaque says "One is not a Man unless he conquers the Great Wall". .. or something to that effect. ;)

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