The Great Wall of China

Mutianyu Great Wall
15 September 2006

The university organized a free trip to the Mutianyu side of the Great Wall for all the short-term Chinese students at BLCU. Three busloads of foreign students left at 8am and returned to the school grounds a little after 2pm. The cable car ride costs 50 RMB. The people on my bus all didn’t want to pay that much so we all opted to walk up to the wall instead. I’m still undecided about whether this was a good idea or not. We ended up having to climb about some 500 meters of stairs just to reach the wall itself. I ended up having to take a rest every landing that we reach.

We entered the wall through a side entrance. When you go on top of the towers you can see the span of the wall

True to its name, the Great Wall is just one really huge brick wall and it can get pretty boring after a while. The surface of the wall isn’t uniformed. In some parts they’re just smooth slopes, while on other parts they’re more like stairs with very sallow steps. It’s not really such a high wall. Once you get to the base it’s actually quite easy to climb. It’s just great coz it’s really long.

Hardly are they ever straight. For some reason, instead of evening it out, the Chinese opted to follow the natural curves of the mountains – so some parts are tipping to the side and some side walls are slanting downwards instead of running parallel to the ground.

The towers are also interesting. Some of them are watch towers that have long hallways and several windows. Other towers used to be living quarters for the soldiers stationed at the wall but these were all closed off. it would have been more interesting if they left it open with all the authentic stuff that the soldiers used before so we could see what life was like for them before.

At the roof of the living quarters you would find some animal figures. The guidebook I bought says that they put that there coz it keeps lightning from striking. Hmmmm….

Moi on the wall.
And because we were so tired, we decided to slide down the slope instead of walking down all those steps again. It was a choice between the Rope Way (cable car) and the Chute (tobaggoning). David has a fear of heights and said that at least if we slide through the Chute our bodies are still on the ground..

I don’t know if the picture is clear but look at the little white path that goes from the wall down the hill – that’s the chute. It starts at the wall’s side exit and goes all the way down to the main parking lot where our buses were waiting for us. Tobaggoning is kinda like bobsledding except that it’s on a metal chute instead of ice, and the sleds are open and good for one person only. It’s basically an open sled with a lever which controls your speed, and as you slide down you need to shift around your body weight to allow the sled to follow the curves of the chute. Every bit of the 41 RMB is worth it. You start off really scared coz it looks long and scary, but you end up feeling kinda bitin coz the route is actually short if you think about how fast you’re going down.

So who’s picking me up in December? I wanna go again!

Emily Dy is a student in Beijing. This young lady is Filipino-Chinese, born and raised in Cebu City. Em loves to eat. 🙂
Hope to hear from you soon, Em!!!