It was the case of an unopened email from Qantas, I hovered my mouse over and clicked the button to see what the specials of the day were, China return for $486.00 oh that's awesome, but do I? Could I go over there? What crazy thing could I do?
Well, I get home to check it out yes there's the Great Wall the history of there culture it would be fantastic but it doesn't quiet sell me yet the photography another selling point but I'm just not there, then I find the Great Wall Adventure club out of Beijing, whats this?? Multiple day hiking trips that you can sleep in the watch towers on the wall, say what you can sleep on the Great Wall.. SOLD.. I'm off to China to enjoy the land and culture of the ancient dynasty dating back to the 1500 BC and further..
Now it's about understand the Chinese lifestyle and beliefs, first knowing you need to VISA to get into China, secondly Facebook, Google and all those Western internet sites are band, so a VPN might be required, also weather wise it's in reverse from Australia so if summer is here, then winter is over there. Yeppee... lol
So I'm booked Passport ready, Camera locked and loaded, backpack to the brim of warm cloths excitement approaches as I take me first step onto the plane from Brisbane.
Day 1, 30th-10-2017 - The Flights..
Woke up early grabbed the backpacks and then I was out the door to start 15 hours worth of flights, There was a little run about flight change, Brisbane to Sydney than back North to Beijing, From Brisbane to Sydney it was a straight forward but they only left me with 40 mins to find my gate and grab something to eat before my plane left to Beijing, But I was on the international flight before I knew it, which was great no 3 hour layover. Then it was movie after movie after you guessed it a movie. I was lucky enough to mix it up tho with a sleep, some well made Jamesons Irish whiskey and another movie, after 11 hours in a chair half the size of me the plane finally touched ground... CHINA..
I was wearing a shirt and a pair of jeans my Chinese travelling buddy turned to me and said "you do realise its 2 degrees outside?" at that point all I could think was I hope baggage claim is quick.. I planned a treat earlier to feel like a rock-star and booked myself a limo to my hotel and what a limo it was brand new Mercedes C7 and the driver must have known every square millimetre of that car cause there wasn't a scratch on it when he dropped me off at the hotel, confused why I said that? This guy found every 5th lane on the 2 way streets Beijing offers, the road rules here are crazy what I can tell weren't any.. But now its time to book into the Lu Song Yuan hotel for the night, well morning as it was 2:30am Australian time..
Day 2, 31th-10-2017 - 1/18th of Beijing..
WOW, Beijing is huge, I knew China would be big, but... I walked for miles today what is only a couple city blocks on a normal map the whole of Brisbane could fit into one street length here. I started walking toward the river walked up around Qianhai over the Yinding bridge back down to Beihai Park, I brought a ticket to enter this "small park" its was beautiful it was only 9am people were dancing, doing Tai chi, ladies twirling streamers, table tennis, games, boat rides, you name it the grass was greener than green, people everywhere but little hideaways that block out the noise so you can hear the water dropping into the lake. after spending 3 hours in the park watching, walking & exploring, I thought I should cross the road and walk to the entrance of the biggest block yet surrounded by a moat, high walls and golden roofs the one and only the forbidden city.
This place was enormous, I heard that this place can get packed and its best to come in the mornings, I saw the people exiting before I saw the entrance and went there's not going to be room to take any photos, well I was wrong there were about 100 plus people walking thru the gates every 10 minutes but once inside this place could fit a million and still have room.. So after I spent another couple of hours walking around this amazing area, I found the exit again and started my walk back home, but if you didn't get "the hotung" people calling you before you entered certainly will now, these are people that have bikes with spare seats they are everywhere, you ask them how much to get somewhere they'll say one thing you say no and move along, It would start at 80 yen but you'll get it down to 20 yen easy, to get driven 8ks for $4.89 Australian why not take a ride save those feet...
Now I back at the hotel writing this blog and enjoying a relaxing talk to the people I can most about back home. Its an early night for me huge 3 days to come.. Lets bring a bucket list marker cause something will be getting ticked off tomorrow..
Day 3 - 1st-11-2017, The Camp of a lifetime..
Yes, that's right.. It all started at 9:30am my tour guide Aaron says"Ni Hao (hello) Daryl are you ready for an adventurer?" 3 whole days on The Great Wall of china and the first night you get to camp on the wall. What an unbelievable experience getting to sleep under the stars on the great wall..
So It was just Aaron a fellow traveller Suzanne from from the USA an I heading out to the Jinshanling great wall it took about 2 hours from Beijing, then it was on a 10k walk along the wall that was over 800 years old not the oldest part, Some are over 2000 years old but it was rugged and there was no-one is sight but us, perfect, just a perfect start after about 5 hours of hiking we get to the tallest watch tower of this part, look behind us the moon was coming up, looking forward the sun was setting it couldn't get more real than this we are actually going to sleep on part of ancient history, by the time we got to the camping ground it was dark, but we had a full moon out which just made the whole atmosphere so much more real, So the tents were positioned double sleeping bags as -2 degrees can get cold we had a form mattress for bedding personal I think the rock I found was softer than the mattress but we weren't there for a 5 star hotel this was the Great wall of China..
Day 4 & 5 - 2nd and 3rd-11-2017, Breath taking...
Miles, and miles of the Great Wall the history even more, still trekking feet sore, back aching, camera full, video camera on its last battery but this place is breath taking.. You've seen the wall on TV, social media, in books but nothing can describe this place on how it makes you feel.. So instead of writing lines of text, I'm just going to show you photos..
It wasn't always walking and no fun on the wall especially after 3 days 30ks of crawling, slipping, trekking and camping there had to be a way down that didn't involve walking right? Well there was if you happen to head the to the Mutianya Great Wall section there is a Toboggan ride you can take down, Checkout the fun I had..
Day 6, 4th-11-2017, The People...
Today was a sleep in, listening to the busy streets belong in my room at the King Joy Hotel in the Xicheng District. I laid there with YouTube playing and looking thru my photos and videos while the feet rested. It was just before noon before my tummy rumbled it was time to explore the city once again..
I step out of the hotel across the road were street markets I walked around dogging people left, right and left again I found a nice little restaurant and served up myself a king size meal, Stream pork dumplings, and Chills, Fungus shredder-ed pork noodles, I had to roll back to the hotel to edit some videos and photos of the Great Wall, The sun finally went down and I grab the camera to do some night photography of Tianammen Square, the smog was so thick tonight I could hardly breath, eyes stinging couldn't see more than 2 blocks away, but there where still people everywhere, running, having dinner, partying, just living life as normal..
I found the square and set up the camera but it took a while to take my first photo as I haven't told you this before but, I think I've been in more random photos than what I've actually taken myself, they love western people here you feel like a movie star people just want to have a photo with you..
Day 7, 5th-11-2017, The Creepy and Crawly...
Today started off like any other morning searching on the phone looking for new things to do or try, I came across the silk street market so started my adventure off to have a look at 17,000 stores in a single building once I got there it was very possible clothing designer known to mankind, I could have gone crazy with new cloths from cashmere, silk, fur, sport series and fashion brands I already wear, but no its not the time for that...
But I was hungry, I just walked 12ks to see this place and I had to walk back to the hotel, so I craved and got myself a pizza with every bit of meat that I could, but it didn't stop there, I also went a caramel coated fruit stick, Steam dumpling, Scorpions skewers and a Snake, Yes that just did happen.. I found the Wangfujing St markets, Don't be put off that their still wiggling and moving once they get a little fried and chilli powered over them its tasty. It was an experience one to share with friends and challenge them to whats next on the menu.. Octopus? Larger Scorpions? Crickets? Bugs? Baby ducklings? and somethings that I cant even put a name to...
Day 8, 6th-11-2017, Day of Smog...
What can I say? The smog was thick, Thick enough for me to roll a dice and explore the last day of Beijing, I did my tourist shopping meeting local artist buying key chains & chopsticks.. But in the end I made it to the place of heaven where I took my last photos of China, Before the flight home. As the smog got to the lens and my lungs the only thing you can do is embrace it and take black and white images, welcome to my last day and I hope you enjoyed my adventure...
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