You know how every time someone goes to the Great Wall of China, they go on about how "Great" it is? "It's wider than a road...it's amazing....its not believable!"
Well, It's wider than a road...it's amazing....its not believable...humongous...its EPIC!
I somehow, after seeing many many photos and reading what is probably a great amount about it over the course of my life, still did not grasp the enormity of it. Along the ridges of the beautiful naturally defencive hills north of Beijing the walls slinks up and down at horribly steep angles. Angles that defy quadriceps, belief and the tons of rock that are sitting there to prove me wrong. The most amazing thing is how it keeps going as far as you can see.
I likened the moment I saw it to that moment when I first saw the grand canyon. No amount of talking, writing or photograping can make anyone truly understand how great a wonder it is. Any bandit or marauder insane enough to have a crack at scaling it had to be desperate or in greater fear of his master than of death itself, which is probably a testament to how scary some of the big bad guys they had in the olden days. It's (see Mum I do know how to use apostrophe 'S') amazing what you can achieve with 4 bazillion megatons of rocks, and a limitless army of serfs to do your bidding.
We walked along the 8 km stretch from Jinshaling to Simatai after a hair raising early morning adventure to get there. I apologise if you live anywhere in the vicinity of our hostel as we walked down the street at 6 in the morning swearing and yelling at each other for our lack of communication regarding the the day's (did it again) plans. Catching subways, buses and negotiating with taxi drivers when all you know how to say in Mandarin ir "Yes", "No", "Thankyou" and "I don't want" is something of a test on already fried nerves I can tell you. I actually think that I only learnt "Yes" and "No" part way through the day.
Beijing is fairly simple to get around, if you have a thick skin and are prepared to work hard using every communication skill in your bag of tricks. After yesterday's (haha!) trip I actuly understand why I met some people that came to Nepal who hated every second of it. Any time you need something, someone somewhere is probably trying to take advantage of you. That's really a little bit unfair, but I can understand if people in Nepal, who don't speak any of the language and are a little unsure of how much you should be spending on things feel like people are out to get you.
That said, we had a great time on the wall, our legs are screaming abuse and profanities at us although we still have another day to spend ion Beijing. One more in Macau, one in Hong Kong, a lightening tour back through Kathmandu and I'll be seeing you all soon.