Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Great Wall

I had the day off yesterday, and took the opportunity to go see the Great Wall. I left around 11, and it took me 3 hours to get there by subway, bus, and "taxi." The bus ride was the longest part of the trip. I went from its starting point to its end. One of the later stops on the trip, a guy at the stop saw me and rushed onto the bus and harrassed me about a Great Wall pamphlet. I'm guessing he wanted to take me there so he could make some money, but it made me nervous, and finally the bus lady kicked him off. When I got to the end of the line, another guy was at the bus door waiting for me. He said "Great Wall?," to which I answered, "Yes." He led me to his car (not an official taxi), and I was a bit nervous, but I rememberd that Marian had gone the day before and an older lady took her to the Wall in her own car too, so I figured it was all good. People just want to make money, and taking tourists to the Wall is a good way to do it. My driver turned out to be a really nice guy even though we couldn't really communicat well with one another. He waited for me while I hiked the Wall, and then took me back. It was a good deal.

The Wall was absolutely amazing. I was in awe of it. You can imagine it all you want, but you have to walk it to really know what it's like. My imagination ran wild as I thought about what it was like when it was first built and soldiers stood guard along it. Crazy stuff. I think it's the most amazing historical piece of architecture I have ever seen up close and personal. I went to the Mutianyu part of the wall which wasn't very crowded. I rode up a ski lift up to the Wall, and then went to the right which turned out to be the steepest part of my hike, but I could only go so far until I reached an overgrown part of it that visitors couldn't hike on, so I turned around and went back to where the lift was, and then headed up the other direction which wasn't as steep. It was more of a rolling sidewalk feel than the other direction which felt like the ultimate stairmaster. I spent about 2 hours on the Wall, and then headed down a little after 4pm. I could have spent a couple more hours hiking it, but I needed to get back. Plus, the Wall closes at 5pm. To get down you have to take a tobbagon (spelling?) on wheels down a metal chute. It was awesome! I posted pics from my Great Wall adventure, so check them out.

On the bus ride back, I met a couple from Dallas. Their names were John and Michelle (didn't catch the last name). I talked to John the entire trip back to our subway stop which really helped pass the time. They were both very nice. It was nice being able to speak with someone after a full day of not being able to communicate easily. I enjoyed the silence on the Wall though. It was some good focus time. I'd love to go back someday.

P.S. I met US swimmer, Aaron Piersol two days ago, and got my pic with him. Check it!


Bronwyn said...

Hey Andy,
So glad to hear things are going well. What a great time. Still praying and of course looking for "Andy sightings". Sarah was sure she saw you at the table tennis event...hehehe.

Jbschu said...

Okay, Andy. Will you please forgive me for being jealous of you?! Aaron Piersol!!!!! As you know, I was a competitive swimmer from the age of 5 and now I coach swimming!! Wow!! And the GREAT WALL!!!! I am going to have to get on my knees now!! As you can tell, I am reading from the beginning. Sounds Amazing!!

Laura said...

Willis! hey I just wanted to say I've enjoyed reading your Olympic blog the past few weeks(even if it has made my life seem super lame and unexciting. just kidding...but seriously...) Also I wanted to mention that in your picture you and Piersol look enough alike for him to be your older brother or something. yep. that's it.