mission accomplished! (with video!)
It has always been a goal of mine to see the Great Wall...one of the original Seven Wonders of the World, the only man-made structure visible from space...pretty impressive.
We hired drivers for 200RMB apiece (about $28USD) and rode about an hour and a half up to Badaling, the most visited portion of the Great Wall. We didn't know what to expect, but should have known that the Chinese New Year Holiday couldn't have stopped the swarms of Chinese people from visiting the structure that is the most famous of their country. They say that if you haven't visited the Great Wall, then you're not truly Chinese. They also say that once you climb the Great Wall, you become a Great Person.
They say a lot of things about the Great Wall, but the question in everybody's minds as we scaled up: are they true? Is it really as great as people say it is?
Black bear native to these mountains.
After some kissing noises, he looked up.
Yes. I am here.
Lots to climb.
Mountains in the background
Myself, Chantal, and David were the half that kept going.
B&W view of the mountains
Grandpa / Grandson hiking team
We made it...view from the top
More than 1 billion Chinese people = traffic jam.
On the way down, we ran into what seemed to be the Chinese Von Trapp family singers...they would stop from time to time and sing a song in Chinese and do a little dance. It made the experience that much more enjoyable.
Enjoying the view
And a sweet baby in a red coat that was careening down the wall. Her parents were right behind her, but she was quite agile for a baby.
After a quick stop to the pay-bathrooms where I got to use a squatter toilet in front of all of the females that happened to be there, we stopped for a beer and a snack.
This is what the bravest of us had: chicken fetuses. The way they cooked them and the spices they had on them made them quite delicious, actually. Who'd have thought?