Monday, July 19, 2010

Lost On The Great Wall

Umbrellas as far as the eye can see. People poking you, bumping you, and tossing you around. Do you have what it takes to climb the treacherous, wet Badaling Great Wall?

That was the scenario that Dad, my two friends, and I were faced with when we decided to head over to the Great Wall. The real story of our trip is not how we had to wait for several hours before we could get on a train, but how we got separated in the Great Wall's biggest "traffic jam" ever.

Several days ago, Dad made the suggestion to my friends and I to take the early train out to the Great Wall. We gladly accepted the offer and made an attempt to get up at 6am, but were unsuccessful. We ended up having to wait at the station for the next train. Finally, we arrived at the wall, rested and ready for action. After buying our tickets, we were on the wall, but it was not as we had suspected. As opposed to being empty because of the terrible weather, it was jam packed with tour groups that refused to stop because of a little rain. In other words, people kind of like us.

Our goal on the hike was to go from the beginning up and then down the steep part of the wall to create a loop. My friend who is my age and I climbed over a bar that people use for support into a six-inch space and sidled up past the traffic jam. Dad and my other friend were left in our dust in the sea of people and umbrellas. When we got to the top, the two of us decided to wait for a while. We set up a system where, every few minutes, we would take turns watching the door to the tower. After about a half an hour, we got bored and decided to go outside and watch for the other two. About another half an hour later, we got a little worried and decided to hike down and search along the way. After arriving at the bottom, we looked around for several minutes before I thought I saw Dad on the wall. We ran towards him but he was far away and it turned out not to be him at all. We dejectedly walked back down to the bottom and asked several people for cell phones, since neither one of us had one of our own. We had decided that if we could not find them in an hour, we would take a train back to Beijing and call my Dad and tell him to come back home. Luckily, while we were deciding on our game plan, we saw Dad walking down the wall looking for us. He was with my other friend, so it ended up being a happy ending. We continued climbing, ate lunch, and then went home. We had one full, awesome day.

~Z

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