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Scrambling the Great Wall – part 1

May 17, 2009

I know some of you readers haven’t heard from me for a few days, well I’m having a riot of a time in Beijing. Access to WordPress is zero so this post comes via email. Sorry it will be brief, but you can get an idea of just "how much fun" I’m having in the land of the Mao.

Having been to China several times, I never made it to the Northeast, until now. Beijing has always been on my list of places to visit, but the truth is, in China, there are more interesting places to see, places that have beautiful lakes, mountains, temples and better tasting food. Beijing cuisine must rank at the opposite end of Sichuan and Cantonese cuisine.

Day one was pretty bumpy, I’ll write about my time with the quarantine team in another post, but for now, I’d like to tell you briefly about my scramble around the Great Wall.
And it was a scramble. Sometimes it felt like intensive P.T, sometimes hell on earth. At no time did it feel like a leisurely wander on an ancient paved road. I chose the wrong wall – Simatai.

It took four hours, very little in the way of shade, crumbling stone underfoot, navigating steep steps and narrow paths.

Enjoy the pictures, I hope these appear in the blog. I’m not sure how this email post will turn out. Sorry for any copy errors, grammar and spelling. Post a comment and I’ll reply to your email. Once I get access I’ll bring you some more up to date detailed posts. Keep following me on Twitter. The officials haven’t barred access to this site yet.

Caffeinated Traveller


  1. Jas permalink
    May 17, 2009 11:17 pm

    Yeah, just as I remember it 🙂 Did you see the Japanese couple wearing the cowboy boots and high heels?

  2. May 18, 2009 10:24 am

    Ooooh, I can agree with you that when it’s sunny at the Great Wall, it’s downright blazing hot! I think we were there with a group of Swedish tourists and as we got off the bus, we soon found ourselves gathered at the local souvenir shop buying up straw hats and caps and what not shades to cover up! And Swedes LOVE the sun! *LOL* It was such an experience!

    At some points, the Wall gets so steep that you can see almost straight down! No heels when touring this. *LOL* Unless for the masochistic.


  3. Zowie permalink
    May 18, 2009 3:49 pm

    I loved that part of the Wall!! That’s where I snagged a couple of pieces of the Great Wall. Did anyone fall off?

  4. May 19, 2009 7:41 am

    despite the smog, it looks lovely

  5. May 19, 2009 2:06 pm

    Sounds like a terrific way to keep fit while touring… Good thing you are young and healthy!

  6. May 25, 2009 11:52 pm

    The Great Wall is pretty great, isn’t it? For others visiting, I suggest spending the night up on the wall. This isn’t technically allowed — you have to walk WAY down the wall and find a hidden spot. But it is magic way to experience one of the world’s great sites.

  7. May 29, 2009 1:32 pm

    Jas – didn’t see the Japanese couple. Was looking out for the Korean couple with the guy hanging onto his girlfriend’s LV bag.
    Cheryl – I think in some parts it looks like the wall is on a 90 degree angle.
    Zowie -So you are one of those people who take artifacts from the local area huh?
    Nomadic Matt – I don’t think it is smog but rather sand blown in from the Gobi desert. Usually in springtime the winds blow the sand across this area and onto Korea and Japan. That said some smog would be in the mix.
    Heather – Endurance is required. I think you would have no problems here.
    SPT – you can actually stay on the wall through a boking agency, in a tower with sleeping bags. I kinda wanted to stay around the area and didn’t know there was a youth hostel based at Simatai.

  8. May 29, 2009 5:00 pm

    I didn’t know there aren’t any access to WordPress in Beijing.

    As for spending a night on the wall, that’s something I’d love to do. A few years ago I read a travel article about some Swedish travelers who had waited near one of the towers until the guard left and then spent the night there, before watching the sunset.

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