On our second full day in Beijing we attempted to go see the Great Wall of China. The operative word here is attempted. We never could find the bus connection. After further research, we tried again the next day. We found the bus alright! The line for the bus snaked across a freeway overpass, down two flights of stairs and several blocks along a sidewalk! We waited in line for 50 minutes in 90 degree F. weather with about 90% humidity. All along the que vendors were hawking cold water, corn on the cob, ice cream and snacks. A lucrative business, no doubt. Once we got to the wall, we had to wait in line again to get tickets, this time only for about 20 minutes.
What you quickly realize is that the bus does not exactly stop at the base of the Great Wall. You still have to climb quite a ways up hill. Eventually you reach a tram-like affair which pulls you quite a ways further up. After disembarking, you climb a bit further in the 90 degree weather and, drenched in perspiration, you finally arrive! For a 50 something lady in poor shape and dubious health, it was an arduous trek, but if you look at the pictures, you’ll see hundreds of people walking much further, all along the wall. I spoke with a lady, at our hostel, who, the day before, had hiked 10 km along the wall, and she was my age too!
Between the heat, humidity and climb, I felt victorious to have just arrived at the start of this section of the wall. I didn’t go much further, but once again, I was moved to tears at the sight of the wall stretching out before me, humbled that I could actually be standing there. There’s always something inside me that says, “Who am I to be having these amazing adventures?” I’ll never take it for granted. I am so grateful.