Tuesday 15 August 2006
Highlights: Hiking the Great Wall of China, Beijing Acrobats, eating a Peking Duck
The China Adventure begins. Starting at 6 am in the morning we set out for a 2.5 hour drive to the Great Wall (Jinshanling Section), which does not usually have many tourists (it’s far out and fairly hard to walk). It’s worth noting that the temperature was over 35c today and very humid (more so than Hong Kong).
As soon as we arrived it was obvious we had all been blessed with a clear day (it’s the trade off with the hot weather I was glad to make). The hike would take over 4.5 hours (we stopped for lunch and occasionally to catch our breath). For half of the trip we had locals who followed us during to sell items like postcards or frozen water (they did sell some of this item at a very good mark up!).
What can I say about the Great Wall, it is breathtaking and not just before of the heat and hard hiking. You would have to go very far to find something as magnificent as this, the man-made structure stretching as far as the eye can see set in just a stunning environment. It was almost a spiritual experience with the sweating and hard work to get out to the remote parts. Easily up there with the Grand Canyon in the USA.
The trip back felt like it was taking forever (we were all very sweaty), a quick break and shower and we were off to see the Beijing Acrobats. This group is mainly kids between the ages of 6-14 and they are extremely skilled. For 1.5 hours I watched these children perform complex routines, amazing stuff.
We ended the night with a visit to a Chinese Restaurant. I should say eventually as the taxi driver dropped my cab at the wrong address, likely we worked out how to work to the restaurant (it took about 35 minutes, which was hard given the early hike). At the restaurant Brett ordered some local food (chop sticks only) and the Beijing special, Peking Duck. The meal and the night were a great experience, I can say I ate at a high class restaurant and had Peking Duck!!