Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Hello all, this is a guest post by my husband. He recounts his recent visit to the Great Wall of China. Read on....

Changcheng (The Great Wall of China)

Visiting Changcheng or the ‘Long Wall’ as it is popularly known in China, built for over 6000 Kms, is an amazing experience. An awesome man-made structure built and rebuilt….and rebuilt…. Over thousands of years, by successive dynasties.

When I was in Beijing for my official visit, my colleague from the Beijing office suggested we visit some places. ‘What would you like to see?’ he asked. ‘Great Wall, of course!!’

I was a bit apprenhensive when my colleague offered to drive me to the Great Wall in his car. I was already having enough fun catching a cab from the hotel to my office and back. I would say traffic in Beijing is not as bad as it is in India, but it’s definitely stressful!!

My colleague Mr. Hao picked me up from the hotel at 8.30AM on Saturday morning. It was a two hour drive to reach Badaling section of the Great Wall. One could book any of the plethora of bus tours to the Great Wall from various points in the city. Since it was a Saturday morning, traffic wasn’t that bad and we made it in good time. After parking the car, we set off on foot to climb the tallest part of the Badaling Great Wall.

The climb was pretty steep and we were exhausted by the time we reached the peak. Of course, there were cable-car rides and train rides to reach the summit and I was tempted to take one of those rides; But after seeing some septuagenarians and octogenarians climbing the wall on foot, we decided to walk. And, what a walk it was!! I have been climbing the steps of Tirumala Hills since I was a kid and I thought I was very good in conserving my energy for long walks with steep climbs. But this was a totally different and amazing experience.

The scenery around the Great Wall is breath-taking. One can see the Great Wall disappearing into the horizon. Most of the Badaling section runs through mountains. One can imagine the hard-work put in by the people in those times, with no access to modern construction equipment whatsoever. There is a belief that some 2 million people died while building this wall.

After climbing down the wall, we reached Beijing city limits late in the afternoon. Since we skipped lunch (we were too tired to eat anything after climbing the Great Wall), we decided to eat an early dinner at one of the local restaurants. The food was amazing and I realized how spicy Chinese food could be!! Most of the Chinese restaurants offer a variety of choices for vegetarians like me.The only twist to this statement is to take a local person with you when you visit such restaurants. No matter how hard you try to explain your choice of vegetarian food, there will be some misunderstanding and you may end up with the famous Peking Duck cooked to perfection served steaming hot!! Your local friend can best explain your choice to the waitress.

Thank you Travelplaza for this space on your blog :-)


At 11:57 AM, Blogger indicaspecies said...

A great army of people must have contributed to build the 6,700 kms of the Great Wall and a small part of it remains in good condition now.

You made the right choice to check out on the top tourist attraction of China. Thank you for sharing the pictures and your experiences.

At 6:39 PM, Blogger Jim said...

Thank you hubby, for this post. Mrs. Jim and I did the long walk, we are some sort genarians. Maybe xgenarians.
You did a very nice account.

At 6:30 AM, Blogger AJEYA RAO said...

Hello and welcome to the blog world.

I was watching a discovery program on this. it seems the common men were dragged to the location forcibly to get this done.

But anyway, its a wonder. Beautiful pics.

At 8:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks everyone for your kind comments.

Indicaspecies, you are right. Only small sections remain open to public and I had an opportunity to view one of the ruins through binoculars as no one is allowed to climb those sections

Jim, you must have felt exhilarated after reaching the top. It's a great feeling.

Ajeya, Another interesting story about the Great Wall goes like this. The Emperor told his ministers "Give me a plan to stop the invaders from North now!! Or, I will cut your heads off....". His ministers thought hard and came out with a plan which would keep the Emperor busy for the rest of his life. "Let's build a wall". That's how it all started :-). Of course, My Chinese colleague told me this story and said this was more a fable than a documented fact.

At 1:00 PM, Anonymous Mridula said...

Wonderful post. Ever thought of acquiring a blog of your own :)

At 12:09 PM, Blogger अतुल श्रीवास्तव said...

China - one country I will like to travel to - soon... very soon. I have been to Shanghai, but could not spend much time there.

My photo travel blog >

At 9:54 PM, Anonymous Vijay said...

Very nice post... You should do more guest posts...

At 11:45 PM, Blogger AJEYA RAO said...

What happened to your India visit incidents and story...Hope all is well with you.

At 4:00 AM, Blogger couch potato said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8:20 AM, Blogger travel plaza said...

Mridula, Atul, Vijay,

Thanks for your kind comments and encouragement.

At 8:23 AM, Blogger travel plaza said...

I have not been able to blog much. I did write one post about our trip to Agra. India trip this time was quite busy. My father fell very ill soon after I arrived there. I was just happy that I was there at the right time and could help out.By the grace of God, he is doing well now.

At 11:46 PM, Blogger AJEYA RAO said...

Oh...Glad all is well and hope you get back to best of your spirits soon, to post more.

At 8:28 AM, Blogger Kadalabal said...

great narration and description is simply superb. good guest post and wish u will write many more. problems veggies face and misunderstandings are nicely put and an eyeopener for those who travel.
hope to see your posts back glad your father is fine and your visit was of timely help for them.
I have read your agra post that was very good and both of u looks to be made for each other and competing to post best one your husbands guest post series should start.
all the best

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At 8:26 AM, Anonymous Mumbai Travel Guide said...

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