The Great Wall

There is an allure about being in Beijing, China that does not exist anywhere else in the world.  The ancient history and culture manifested in the buildings beams throughout the city from temples to palaces to squares to hotel buildings and even in the quotidian street corners.  Just the aura of Beijing was something I couldn’t have imagined to be the way it was.  As soon as we arrived by bullet train, the first experience we had was one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had.

It was long, exhausting, and tedious; but climbing the Great Wall of China was an unforgettable experience.  As some of the students on our program would say: it was so worth it.  The views from some of the towers built every so many meters were unmatched to anything I had ever seen and knowing that so many people took part in building that wall as well as fighting for their lives and for their country on it centuries ago is an exciting idea.  As I was walking on the wall and looking around at the surrounding nature and the entirety of the wall that stretches for miles and miles, I took pride in being one person who had taken the time to experience at least a small part of what makes China, China.

The people that lived around the area of the wall that we climbed were kind, welcoming, and impressively entrepreneurial.  They were selling everything under the sun that could be related to the Great Wall plus other things that were useful like gloves and snow hats.  I was intrigued by the looks on their faces when they saw us wai guo ren as they seemed enthralled by the way we looked and hoped we would buy their trinkets.  One woman even climbed most of the hike with us so that we would buy some of her products.  It was exciting to see the people of the neighboring villages and to see the differences between the way people lived at the time that the wall was built and now.