Friday 15th July
It was difficult to get the alliteration on this one, so I sort of cheated. Oh well.
A view from the Wall. V. foggy that day, which made it refreshingly crisp-great for the climb.
We woke up even earlier today; a tumultuous six o’clock. So it’s basically an average school day for me. We had cake from my friends sister; she makes awesome cakes in Beijing, which are then delivered to your door. Most of these cakes are like the ones in your childhood dreams-the ones that went on and on, with endless different layers of deliciousness. We had the cherry shortcake one, which was presented by the guy on the motorcycle delivering them in a cute little glass jar, perfect for reuse after you’d had your fill. And they are very filling.
We then had a mundanely long car journey to the Mu Tian Yu Great Wall, a slightly less but still very busy part of the wall. Most tourists are herded to the Ba Da Ling one, which is always very crowded, so it was quite nice to have the wall mainly to ourselves (in terms of living in a city with 20 million people). However, this one is particularly steep, and the cable car to get to the place is about as safe as riding on a shark with wings. I mean seriously, you could jump off if you let go of the bars, because it just flies up if there’s no pressure on it whilst you’re 50 feet up in the air, on a mountain. Haha. Totally fine.
My uncle Dong Hai (东海), or as I call him, Da Da. He can be pretty blunt at times but he’s a great guy and I love him. Whilst in China, my uncle and aunt pay all our fees-food, accommodation, all that petrol needed to go back and forth from the countryside into the inner city, attractions-including this trip to the Great Wall. I only hope we can pay them back in full when they come to the UK! (And they better hurry up, because it’s not like prices are getting cheaper around here #StillNotOKAboutBrexit)
It took us one and a half hours to get up and down the steeper side of the Mu Tian Yu wall on the right of where you come in from after exiting from said cable car by running to the sides manically as it continues to speed by regardless on whether or not you’ve actually gotten out. If you look out through the portcullis’ in each small tower, you can disused parts of the Great Wall, overgrown with weeds. (Hopefully they don’t mess it up like they did with this part of the wall which underwent some interesting refurbishments…) LOH ran around like she was five.
Brother Charlie and LOH, looking insane as always. Note touristy American wearing a conical straw hat in the background.
We had lunch at this ‘farmer house’ called the Bang Shan Ju Farmer House, almost like a B&B but located in the far countryside and perhaps less comfy (or creepy depending on how you want to go about it). You have to go for a while past Mu Tian Yu, about thirty minutes, but I love this place. It’s like a mini motel, where the owners make all their food from a menu which varies everyday: a sort of freshwater plant from the river and fried wild peppercorns for example, as well as freshly caught trout and wild pig. You also get a lovely view of the Great Wall, even though it’s the un-renovated part – if you go on, there are many places where you can just reach out and touch it (so long as a mutated angry hornet bee thing doesn’t come after you when you try-RIP Amy Jiang July 2015).
This place is just awesome. Bang Shan Ju Farmer House is one of the many villagers and communities which have been supported by the government into attracting more tourists this side of the Wall. Entire villages have been refurbished, each one with it’s own brandname like ‘Wu’s Tanners’ or ‘Hu Jing’s Farm’. I can’t say it’s entirely worked, and it has resulted in a whole lot more dirt and mess in the area as the workers throw the sand and gravel everywhere whilst constructing, but this particular place is very accommodating. Also: free parking space! Now that’s something you don’t see everyday.
It rained (a miracle indeed) quite a lot today, lowering the temperature to a lofty 23 degrees. Now that is cold for China.
Next up: long car journeys, lunch and relaxing before the storm.
NB: Been spellchecking this post-half of it was entirely incomprehensible. Must have wrote it at midnight and have been v. tired.