THE WALL

No, not the Pink Floyd song (although Louis would be super impresed that I know that) album (I just asked Louis who told me it was an Album, not a song. So close), The Great Wall in China. Yah, I kinda just remembered I haven't looked at China pictures or put any up on my blog! It's been a crazy freaking month and I try not to turn on my computer at night. I said *try*.
Let's just take a minute here  - this is not going to be a history lesson. This post is going to be crapload of pics that I  like. Sorry, but keeping track of the Ming Dynasty and the Qing Dynasty and...however other many dozens of dynasties...It's just not my style. And while my geography and history knowledge as exploded exponentially - let's not forget that I still have to think which way is north or south (actually even in my office, I don't have any idea).
The day started out pretty early in Beijing, but because of trafic, a 1.5 hour drive turned into a THREE hour drive. I was in heaven. I slept all but 5 minutes of the ride. I was EXHAUSTED.
After we got there (and felt the cold) we started up one side of the wall. Apparently it was 998 steps, which I didn't think was all that much?
I asked what this meant...but surprise, surprise...I've forgotten already. It looks cool though!
The first few hundred stairs are actually quite busy!
Then things start tapering off.
But the views are incredible. This is another side of the wall.

Like I'm not joking, some women started up the hill wearing shoes like this. If they made it a few hundred stairs...I'd be pretty impressed. I'm not sure if they were just like, Oh, honey, on the way home, can we stop and climb up the Great Wall? Because what sane person would wear shoes like this?
Ahh....the locks of love. According to this website, "No one knows how or when this ancient Chinese custom began, but the lock-laden chains, common in the Yellow Mountains and at the Great Wall of China, have begun to appear elsewhere in the world. Thousands of simple metal locks adorn chains and fences, placed with care by those who wish to symbolize their enduring love. Fasten a lock on the chain and throw away the key, thus uniting your love for eternity." 
I'm sure if I really put some effort into it I could find out where it started, but I think it's a tourist trap. Although, I think I saw this in Italy somewhere as well? Anyway, it looked cool. I didn't buy a lock for Louis and I. I guess our love isn't solidified in China.



This is a good warning. I personally wouldn't be climbing up slippery stairs in the event of a thunderstorm...and I don't think I'd take any call. "Oh, hi boss! Yes, I was working on that file, I can tell you the details. First, Joe Smith stole....." (that and I pretty much never take my phone with me ever).
Some of the stairs were crazy tall! Like, three or four bricks high - I had to nearly boost myself up some of them.
And then there was this little girl. She was having a tough time. Ok, everyone was having a tough time, but she's like...six or seven, which makes this climb up a lot harder.
But I was going so slow, she passed me...thanks to her dad.
And she TOTALLY rubbed it in my face. She's all like, "Oh yeah, sucka??? I'm kicking your behind! See you at the top, mo fo!!!"
Again....the view. I can't count the number of times I just stopped and looked around (and took a breather).

My mom and I were far apart, so I stopped and asked this couple to take my picture with my OILERS scarf. There was a Canadian on his way down and as the picture was taken he said, "Seriously!?! The Oilers!?". Ahhh....our reputation follows us. Next year, guys, next year!

This picture was taken from a looking point of one of the towers that were originally built for military purposes. (But now exist as cell phone towers...).

From our side of the wall, you can see Beijing the city. Look far in the distance. It's so odd to be to be halfway up The Great Wall, and be able to look and see this crazy metropolis.



I think it was around here that I stopped. I didn't keep track of the stairs. My mom and I kept getting separated (she's a faster climber and less of a pissarounder), and...well...reaching the top...well, I don't know. Call me lame (no, don't), but I just didn't feel like it. And walking the rest of the way solo, while freezing...well it didn't sound like fun. I'd rather go slow and pissaround.



I'm not sure if my Mount Kenya climb like ruined anything involving climbing any type of hiking or climbing for me. After a certain point...it was kind of....dry. Yep, that's me. Pure culture and class.  Also...if you read my posts before...there was some slight confusion about what the wall actually was...

So I continued to enjoy the view and started back down.

They even had this handy railing to grab onto. Except I was about six inches too tall to actually reach the thing.

On the way down there was an option that was shorter, I think. All I saw was cool scenery and snow!! It looked as if you could slide down if you pulled yourself along the railing.

Which is exactly what I *think* they were trying to get at here. NO Striding...No Sliding...potayto-potahto.

Of course I was fascinated by the snow. My weather life is very confusing to me.

I played with the snow the entire descent.

And spied on people making surprise-attack snowballs!

Yeah. Maybe they need to write this in like ten other languages, because I picked up garbage non-stop on the way down. There are garbage cans like every fifty feet. Whatevs.



Soon I was at this little village-type thing set up. Kind of reminded me of Banff? (No, not because of the high Asian population!)

Ok, so I forgot all my winter clothes in Canada and I had to get my mom to bring me a wack of stuff that I got on sale. I think this guy's mom had to do the same thing.


I loved watching so many people take fun pictures with the snow!



There are many people that have climbed to the top. But how many people have taken a picture of themselves in The Great Wall toilet?

My mom was faster at the descent too (or I seriously pissed around...or both) and she was waiting for me along with our guide when we got to the bottom. We patiently waited in line for our turn to get a picture with whatever everyone else was waiting to get their picture taken with. Rookie mistake. There is no "line etiquette" in China.
I wish I had gotten a better picture, but my camera is dirty as mud from my trip to the UAE in February. There was a sand storm and...it's never been the same. I also wish we would have asked what the sign meant (and remembered it).

And that was it! Not for the day, of course. We still had to visit the Forbidden City. Or the Temple of Heaven. At this point I have to go through my pictures to remember which one - or if they are the same thing...

Visiting The Wall while in China? Well, it doesn't sound like much fun in my blog post...but it's a total must see. It was never a "bucket list" thing for me before...but I think it was after the fact. If that makes any sense?

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