Wednesday, April 1, 2009

#9 - A Long Walk on a Great Wall

So the dream of writing more seems to have lost out to other intellectual (??) pursuits such as watching the 1985 made-for-TV-movie North and South starring Patrick Swayze on YouTube (riveting stuff I tell you) and reading War & Peace (actually quite good in my opinion) - traveling sometimes finds you doing the strangest of things!?!

And fortunately for me, there have been more than enough strange and incredible adventures over the last two years, that one day the dream of actually being able to write about it, and maybe even expound on the meaning of it all, will be realised. But in the meantime, you'll just have to settle for this.....
#9 - The Great Wall of China

Almost immediately upon making the decision to come to Korea, Beijing became part of the schemes. I mean all that history, the largest nation on Earth, and who wants to pass up an opportunity to see a 4-storey statue of Yao Ming?

Sure it had a lot to do with the most recent Olympics - who wasn't captivated by that Phelps kid or 'The Lightning' Bolt? And the architecture of the Olympic facilities were sites to fact the contrast of architecture throughout the city was something to behold - hundred year old neighbourhoods surrounded by the latest and most obnoxious is something to see, and helped us appreciate that just because we can, doesn't always mean we should. But making Beijing the must-go destination for me on this side of the planet was and is The Great Wall of China.

After spending our first few days in frigid Beijing - the Chinese may have invented gun powder and fireworks, but are way behind on insulation - we took a ride out the Wall. To say we were traveling back in time is not an over-statement as we went from the congested and polluted Beijing of 15 million people to the countryside dominated by mountains, the Wall, and some hardy ladies selling Great Wall knick-knacks - post cards, t-shirts, books of photos, crayons(?), chopsticks, the list could go on. And yes, I bought a shirt if to prove I did it because according to Chinese history, those that walked the Wall were heros. I've always wanted to be a hero! But mostly I bought so our 'friend' didn't have to walk any farther.And what a walk it was. Ten kilometres - which really makes one appreciate the enormity of it all - scrambling over stones put in place hundreds, even thousands of years ago, all to protect the capital, although that eventually didn't work - I have a new appreciation for what a bad-ass Attila-the-Hun was, because even just walking on the Wall with no one around was tough enough - going against a Chinese army sitting on top of this Wall that sits atop a mountain range?? Bad ass!

For me it was difficult enough huffing and puffing our way over stairways that have worn away after hundreds of years and steep inclines I could barely carry myself over, let alone even think about hauling some ancient military equipment.

But a beautiful day of hiking and the sheer magnitude of this structure is reason enough to get this experience into anyone's top ten, but what really made this experience was the opportunity to help my good buddy with advertising for his landscaping company....

Wellscape - No job too small! No job too Great!

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