Wow, the camping pictures are
Wow, the camping pictures are popular! As of now, there were 146 hits (minus about 10 from me…). I suppose it is time to put up a detailed description of the trip. We met in the Sanlitun area at ~9:30AM in front of the Quik24 market so those who were lazy and didn’t purchase food and other items before could have a last chance. Any way, the bust left around 10. The driver took a strange route that involved no expressway (even though he could have taken the Badaling expressway for about half the way). We eventually arrived at the Huanghua Great Wall around 11:30/12. We had lunch at one of the local restaurants - involved 3 egg dishes and one chicken dish, I don’t know who ordered, but I was the one who ordered the chicken dish - if it wasn’t for me………. 3 egg dishes is a bit much, by the way… The girls bought Revolution PLA hats at the local souvenir shop across the street for 8 RMB a piece. Made for a good picture. We started off (across the damn) and around the mountain on the path. I was thinking “this is strange… No fees yet… Cool!” Well, not too long after that as we started ascending up the mountain we were stopped by some shady looking woman asking us for 2 RMB a person to go up. Hmm, 2RMB? Sure! Much cheaper than a Badaling or Simatai! We walk up these questionable set of metal stairs to get onto the wall. We start walking (which way I forget) until we get to the first guard tower. Here, there was a woman with no teeth asking us to pay another 2 RMB to go ahead! What the heck…. So, we reluctantly pay (Ori’s fault this time, I think)… she told us there was no one else up ahead asking for money, so we thought “4 RMB still isn’t bad!” We get to the next guard tower (or it could have been the tower after that) and there was a guy that wouldn’t let us up this ladder to get into the tower unless we paid 2 RMB a person. Now this is getting really fishy. I didn’t want to pay as a matter of principle. After several minutes of arguing, the guy eventually told us that for foreigners it was 2 RMB and locals it was 1 RMB. Now that REALLY pissed me off….. Sorry, I am not paying more money just because I am a foreigner. Total B.S.. (I didn’t even want to pay him at all!) Someone broke, I can’t remember who this time, but managed to get us through with 1 RMB a person. After a while, we eventually ran into construction - unfortunately (or fortunately) they are repairing part of the wall. The section we wanted to go up was blocked off by a workman that we really didn’t feel like arguing with. So we exited the wall and followed a path that cuts around the mountain that we were going to ascend. Along this path, we encountered yet another guy asking us for 2 RMB for passage! Now this is getting ridiculous! This guy had a knife, too! (at the end of a stick, looked like a hoe) After much argument, someone in our group broke down and paid. grrr.. We eventually got to a section of the wall that was under active construction. It was either get on that section (the workers allowed us, probably entertainment for them) or pay another 2 RMB to go down the path around it. A few of us opted to go on the wall. From this point, we could see the tower we wanted to sleep in. It looked like the rain was coming, and some of us were getting tired. blah blah We eventually arrived at the tower after walking up another hill up loose rocks and through bushes. The main roof was gone, but the arches (around the windows and doors) had roofs so we were able to each have one. We started to build a fire pit outside, but eventually, the weather deteriorated, so just before it rained, we moved the pit under cover. Following the rain, we built the fire, had some food, and talked… I was out by 10. I woke up at 2 because I heard some strange bugs crawling around my head… I eventually fell back asleep but woke up again at 5. Most others did, too. We left the tower around 6:20. On our descent, it started raining, so we decided to skip our original plan of backtracking on the wall and just walk along a dirt road to meet the driver of the bus in the village. (yeah, I am tired, so skipping some detail here) We got back to the city around 9:15/20 and ate at Grandma’s Kitchen - starting to become a tradition after a camping trip (we did this last year, too). Ok, that’s it. I have work to do.