My Last Time On The Wall

A few days ago I went back Shanghaiguan, to see the Great Wall for the last time. We wanted to go to a part of the Wall that we had already been to before but it was closed for restorations (gearing up for the summer tourist crowd). So this time we went to a part of the Wall that I had never been to before. From Shanghaiguan it was another 30 min car ride. When we got off the bus in Shanghaiguan the only person who was willing to take us was this person with a little three-wheeled taxi.

To get to this other part of the Wall we had to pass over the mountains, but we weren’t really sure whether we were going to make it or not. The three-wheeled taxi was this rinkidy piece of machinery. We saw that the car’s gas meter was on empty (in fact all of the car’s gauges were broken) so were just waiting for a something to go wrong. The mini-taxi’s engine kept on backfiring and halfway up the mountain the car stalled. We were debating on whether to get out and push but the driver finally got it going.

As we bought our tickets for the Great Wall an old woman came up to me, trying to sell me a hat. But this was no ordinary hat, it was a leaf hat. I didn’t really want it, but she was only charging 2 yuan and it seemed that she needed the money more than I did so I bought a hat. Once I bought a hat, everyone else did too.

  

Before we went on the Wall we went to a Buddhist temple. It was a very beautiful temple. As we walked around one of the monks/priests invited us to do a prayer. So we partook and lit some incense and did some bowing. At the end he asked us for a donation, not of 10 or 20 yuan but for 200. We didn’t pay it. After walking around a little long and getting a picture with another monk we headed to the Wall.

  

  

The touristy part of the Wall (the part that is rebuilt) is very small, but you can sort of continue on parts of the wall that have not been rebuilt. So we decided to go all the way till the end. It turned out to be such a hot and humid day that my decision to wear pants turned out to be a bad one. At different points during our hike up the Wall we had to stop and have a break so that I could take off my pants and cool down. It reminded me of when I lived in Israel and I was walking from one end of Jerusalem to the other, on Yom Kippur with my friend Gabi. It was such a hot day inJerusalemthat I took off my pants and walked across Jerusalem in only my underwear.

I always enjoy walking along the Great Wall. The views are stunning and its size is awe-inspiring. I am glad I was able to go one last time to the Great Wall before I left.

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About JoelS

Spending a year teaching English and saving the world in China
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