|One of the many 919s
to deny us that morning.
We started the day quite early with a 0545 wake-up to ensure we arrived at the Great Wall before the raging hordes. Sadly, we weren’t quick enough!
|The 919 that delivered!|
Yes, I know, sane people in a country where they find themselves illiterate opt to take an organized tour.
We are not sane people.
Also, The 919 bus is a bit of an enigma.
The first few 919 buses we found refused us and told us to walk further down. After much walking , we found yet another queue of 919 buses, joined it and were able to board. En route, we saw a number of 919 buses that didn’t seem to be following the same route as us. Could they all be going to the Great Wall? Seemingly, no.
|Next time, Kiely will wear a flag.|
We arrived by 10 in Badaling, which is the easiest place to visit the wall from Beijing. The alterative is 3 hours further away, but has the benefit of fewer visitors.
I experienced the Great Bathroom (not good, really!) and after acquiring the Great Audio Guide, we began our trek up the the wall, Northbound.
Something I never really noticed about the great Wall in pictures is how incredibly steep it is. It is at points so steep that walking up seems so much easier than walking down. We followed the Wall until we could walk no further, as while the Wall might be thousands of miles, the whole thing isn’t opened to tourists.
|What we came to see.|
After leaving the wall and returning the audio guide, we went to the Great Museum, which was pretty good.
The Museum covered exhibits about the Wall’s history, conservation, and famous visitors. Another key thing about the museum was it’s downright excellent bathroom. If you find yourself at the Great Wall, this is the bathroom to hold out for.
|Our Great Photo Op.|
We found the 919 bus again, boarded and headed back. The journey seemingly took forever.
Beijing has massive roadways that seem to always be full of traffic. Increasingly, I think there are two reasons for this:
1. There are lots of cars
2. The drivers don’t use their directionals at all and frequently change lanes, often two lanes in a single move. I started to really pay attention to the taxi divers, and I found that most never signaled. We even had one who only signaled when entering a lane to the right and never signaled when entering the lane to left.
This lead us to establish China Rule #5: Wear Your Seat Belt.
We returned at 4, hungry as can be, and had a snack to make up for missed lunch.We also stopped by the local supermarketmarket on a search for moon cakes and bottled water. As we waited in line, I couldn’t help but laugh at Kiely protecting our place in the queue. Thing is, it is completely necessary. I had people walk right past me and start tugging on stall doors of clearly occupied loos as I waited in bathrooms. In the market in Yongzhou, I had to really make an effort to stay behind Kiely in the checkout line, even though I had nothing to purchase and we were obviously together. Kiely said that queue jumping is very common.
China Rule #6: Don’t queue, and if you do, be prepared to be the only one.
|Kiely, Ben, Maria, and the Beijing Duck at Xiao Wang Fu|
We ordered way too much food, but every bit of it was wonderful. Maria and Ben were wonderful company, and gave us some excellent advice for things to see the next day.
After dinner, Maria and Ben headed off to their prior commitment and we went for a walk around Ritan Park and indulged Kiely’s new popsicle habit before heading back to ours.