Less than 60 minutes sleep and defeat in the Rugby World Cup Final for England wasn’t the ideal way to start my China trip but at the final whistle I went to the Airport for my morning flight to Beijing via a transit in Shanghai.
Fortunately, I met a French guy on the plane who lived in Beijing and shared a taxi with me which I continued on in to my hostel after his stop thereby saving me from the hassle of navigating my way there by bus, subway and on foot.
I was up at 6:30 am on the first morning to take a local bus and taxi 90 km away to see the Great Wall in Mutianyu which is the second nearest place to see the famous landmark. After taking a chairlift I was on the wall itself with the sun shining brightly too. The first part I walked along was quite taxing really and a kick up the backside in terms of underestimating it.
Overall I spent about four hours walking back and forth along the complete length of the wall available to the public in Mutianyu. It really did feel good to experience such an iconic spectacle and was such a sight to behold resulting in me taking many photos.
I was glad I chose this section of the wall rather than the far more touristy part at Badaling, and I was even rewarded by having it all to myself at times in the early afternoon. The descend was great fun and done via toboggan which was a nice relaxing and thrilling way to round off the first part of my Beijing experience.
Back in the capital slightly earlier than expected, I went to Tiananmen Square where many Olympic cultivations were on display as well as a countdown clock across the road.
I saw the soldiers parade through the mass crowds and generally just soaked up the atmosphere of the place in terms of people watching.
As for the Chinese people, I can tolerate the no-queueing on trains (although this is slightly improving in the run up to the Olympics) and even the spitting but what is really disgusting is the sound which accompanies it. It’s not just men but women too, and even the guard who I was posing in front of on the square let loose with phlegm though thankfully not in my direction!!