the great wall of china is actually great

November 27th, 2011 / by / in: travel / 3 Responses

Great Wall of China from melissa kaita on Vimeo.

The Great Wall of China. One of the wonders of the world. Of course we had to visit it since we were in Beijing. We went to the Mutianyu section of the wall, which I would recommend doing if you ever go. The more popular (and closer to Beijing) section is Badaling, but it’s way more tourist-heavy. You’ll see in my photos that Mutianyu wasn’t very busy — if you go to Badaling, you’ll get an experience that looks more like this.

The above video is the cable car ride up the mountain to the wall. It’s not really worth watching for the full five minutes unless you’re really bored or you really like The National. Because I was filming it facing forwards you can’t really tell how high it was, but it was a bit scary at times! (Mostly because China doesn’t seem too into safety in general. But no one died, so whatever.)

Is IS possible to take public transit to get to the Great Wall, but it apparently takes many confusing hours. It’s pretty far from Beijing. We hired a a car for 650 yuan (around $100) and the drive was about an hour each way. The car also took us to the Bird’s Nest and Watercube Olympic stadiums, but that’s another entry!

 Checking email before breakfast. Very important.

Okay, this has nothing to do with anything except that I took this photo that day. How cute is this car? IT’S PINK! And not ugly pale pink. Cute pink!

Anyway, after a long drive through the Chinese countryside, we arrived. The area at the bottom of the mountain is lined with touristy stalls selling weird Great Wall tshirts and stuff. You also buy tickets for the cable car here.

I stole this photo from someone because I needed an example of this weirdness. A lot of the stalls were selling Obama as Chairman Mao (Obamao!) tshirts like the one above. I have no idea why this is such a big thing. Very bizarre.

I saw more white people at the Great Wall than anywhere else in Beijing. This isn’t really remarkable, except that I saw almost zero white people everywhere else.

No photos of the cable car ride, because I was taking a video (see above)!

 Obligatory Mao hat tourist photo.

It’s almost kind of stupid to even post photos of the Great Wall because pictures don’t do it justice at all. It doesn’t look that crazy in photos, but it’s almost incomprehensible how insane this thing is. It goes on forever and did I mention it’s a HUGE GIGANTIC WALL IN THE MIDDLE OF MOUNTAINS IN CHINA. YOU CAN SEE IT FROM SPACE. Caps lock don’t do it justice either. But seriously. It’s pretty epic.

 Definitely wear comfortable shoes. It’s a lot of walking.

 How amazing is this?

You can either ride the cable car back down the mountain, or you can take the toboggan. (You can see other people riding down in the video.) It’s fun!

 Probably not so safe, but whee! You only live once.

At the bottom, we stopped to get a jianbing, which is basically a savoury crepe with egg and a crispy crepe inside. It’s really delicious, and like everything, very cheap.

Mmmm, jianbing.

Next entry: Wangfujing! Weird food and shopping galore!


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