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Dre J.’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 29 Oct 2009

Location: Beijing, China

MapHey all! So i'm back from my trip with Colin. We took a trip up north for a two day hike of the Great Wall. It was amazing. It took us a couple hours to get there, we took a train, a bus, then a taxi. We met a farmer there, his name was Mr. Sue. He turned out to be the nicest guy I have meet in China. Colin and I weren't quite sure what to expect when we met with him. We just kind of shook hands and then started walking. I thought he was taking us to his farm, which I was hoping for since my bag was kinda heavy with food and extra clothes, things I thought I would be able to leave at his house before we went hiking. Come to find out a few hours later, his house was over 9 miles away, and we would have to hike some remote, and then some popular sections of the wall to get there. Not only the wall, but around the wall at some points where you couldn't hike on top, up hills and through brush, and around farms. It was quite the experience. At one part of the wall there was a movie being shot, and there were all these kids dressed in these gray robes reading from some book very load and in unison. It was pretty cool. Then, during a cut, our guide, Colin, and I had to walk through all the kids up the wall in order to continue on. It was kinda weird walking by all these kids in custom shooting a movie. After 9 miles of the wall we descended down where we met Mr. Sue's wife who was waiting for us. She was a very nice women as well. Neither one new English so Colin was the translator for the entire trip. Well the wife new some English because she has a shop at the entrance of the popular part of the wall, but not enough to have a conversation with. Mr. Sue also new a word or two but that was it. They only had one vehicle too, a motorcycle, so I went first and rode to Mr. Sue's village. When I got there he told me to get off and to wait there for 5-10 min until he returned for Colin. So there I am standing on the side of the rode in the middle of nowhere, at some random village that looked like it was in the middle ages, except for the random solar panels on the roofs. People came outta their houses and stopped their farm work to stare at me. Very interesting to say the least. When Mr. Sue returned with Colin he took us into his house. It was a pretty nice house considering the shape of the village. There we were shown our beds, a basic wooden box built up off the ground. We meet his son, this lil 4 or 5 year old. He was pretty cool. He was so interested in Colin and I. I don't think he ever met white people before, or at least never talked and plapyed with any. Of course tho, since I was ignoring him and Colin was all into him he liked me the most and wouldn't leave me alone. So I did what I had to do to survive and I suppose it wasn't that bad. He did always have toy guns I could play with. I also did some KungFu with him and taught him the "up high, to the side, to the other side, down low...TOO SLOW" game. He loved that. He couldn't get enough of it. Mr. Sue and his wife made us dinner where we all ate, drank a few beers, and talked (well Colin talked and then translated it for me). It was nice. It was a whole 5 o'clock, not even dark and both Colin and I were ready to pass out. We sucked it up and waited till it got dark but were in bed by 7 and out by 8 easy. I was exhausted. We woke up at about 8 the next day, with the exception of the 4 am wake up call by all the f--kin chickens outside, that continued for a good hour. Good thing I was so wiped out I could get back to sleep. I didn't sleep so well either night, you know those sleep for an hour, wake up, sleep for an hour, wake up things...yeah that was me both nights. So I still slept a lot, just not the best way to get that sleep. Let's put it this way, I am soooo looking forward to my dorm bed, and that's nothing to look forward too. But again, they cooked us breakfast. All the food was delicious. When we were done we barley had time to digest our food and we were out the door to start the day. Colin took the first ride to our trail, I followed when Mr. Sue came to pick me up. It was this random dirt road that we drove up for a while until i saw this red haired white kid standing there. We then proceeded up some winding trails in the middle of the mountains, in and around random farms, until we basically went straight up this mountain until...oh there is the wall!. I was gasping for air by the time we reached the wall and was kinda excited to get there, until i saw where we would be going. The first part of the wall we climbed that day was a flight of stairs 130+ stairs straight up. FML. We proceeded to climb 9 more miles of the wall, most uphill...most stairs...to the highest part of the wall on this side of the wall i think. I'm actually not sure if it is the highest on the wall altogether, or just the East side. Mr. Sue was also very knowledgeable about the wall. He would point out all the places the wall was attacked, and where the Mongols launched massive attacks against the wall. I could then look out the little arrow holes and imagine a massive army coming at me. Colin and I frequently would stop and pretend to shoot arrows out at the imaginary army. Were kids, sorry. Well yeah that's about it. We finished the 9+ miles for day two, got to climb on a restricted section of the wall because Mr. Sue smoozed the guard, headed back down a very very very loooong, winding road for another 3-4 miles until we got to the motorcycle. Ate dinner, drank more beer, played some more with the kid, and passed out around 7-8 again. Woke up, ate an amazing breakfast, played with the kid some more, got a ride into town and waited for a van to take us back to a larger city were we could catch a bus. Mr. Sue got us a ride in a van that was packed full of people. So we drove over an hour in the cramped van with smoking chinese people for a whopping $1. Mr. Sue's kid was crying when we left. I prolly got back 4 or 5 hours ago. Colin and I did laundry since we wore the same thing for three days straight. Let me remind you that we were in a very small village with an outhouse of sorts for a toilet and no shower. The people we stayed with also didn't change the entire time, nor had they prolly changed for days or weeks before we got there. So laundry and a nice long shower we very much needed, especially for Colin, man does that kid stink! He knows it too. After that we did the Muslim thing (that's ate at the Muslim restaurant, our favorite place) then went to the grocery store. Now I'm here. So it was a great trip. I walked more then 25 miles i'd say in two days, more then half that up stairs, and mostly all of it uphill. My legs still hurt. My knees held up. I had to take some Tylenol today cuz it was throbbing a bit but other then that it hasn't given me too many issues, a bit sore after 8 or 9 miles of stairs but who's knees wouldn't be at that point. Well I'll just be taking it easy for the next few days, doing a lot of homework. I've already made quite a bit of progress with character memorization this week so i'm hoping to keep that going into the next few days and slim my pile of words down. I would love to have all the characters down pact by Monday but i'll take it as it comes. I'll also have plenty of time to upload the rest of my Sichuan pics and then my Great Wall picks. I know i'm really slouching, I'm sorry, but not having internet in my room any more really limits the amount of time I have to go somewhere with internet and upload. Plus its normally wifi, meaning its slower, so it takes longer to upload pics. I promise i'll have them all up by Monday though... I think lol. Unless someone wants to send me 20 bucks, that will get me unlimited internet in my room for a month. otherwise, zaijian!