Quite soon, I’d pretty much had enough of Xingcheng, and so decided to head on, and the next morning at about 8am I caught a train to Shanhaiguan, an area renowned for some spectacular areas of the Great Wall and, again, a very old town centre. I arrived and immediately found myself a tuk tuk, and set off to a hostel that lonely planet had recommended. It turns out that the hostel had been closed for a year or two, and so my driver said that he could take me to another place that had quite cheap rooms. This next place was sub average at best, with a room with mould in the corners, no running water, and a severe lack of heating, for 60 kuai...outrageous! I was sure that I could find a cheaper place, and left the hostel stunned at the ridiculous prices of the rooms. As it turned out, all of the hostels were stupidly expensive, and after much bargaining I managed to get myself a nicer room for 160 kuai - that's expensive even for the uk!
Anyway I resolved not to waste my money, and so set off straight away to an awesome stretch of
The sign says "Little Grass is resting, please don't disturb them."
Youve gotta love Chinese translations.
the great wall, which afforded me some spectacular views over the surroundings and some cool mountains and lakes, and was completely deserted! I managed to skirt around some of the signs saying that I was not allowed any further and finally made it to the old, unrestored sections of the wall, and the top of the mountain!
After racing down to the bottom of the wall, I caught a lift in the car of some of the gate guards, as there were no other vehicles in sight, and then realized that I’d never learnt the name of the hostel I was staying in...After a good while of fruitless guesswork as to the name of the hostel, I finally asked the driver to just drive for a bit and hopefully we'd come across it... We'd just about given up and he was taking me to another attraction, when we drove right past it... Quite lucky I know, and I’ve resolved to learn the name of the place I'm staying next time... That night I headed into town to find a restaurant, id left it quite late, and was unsure as to whether I’d actually be able to find somewhere to
Past the end of the official restored section, and on into the wilderness.
go, but luckily I found a small restaurant where the owners and extended family were all sat around chatting and their kids were playing with a small puppy. I had barely sat down before the puppy came across and started chewing on my trousers, and after a while I started joining in with the kids games. Before I knew it I was sat with the entire family having a huge conversation about education in china, the prices of goods, and the problems with the Chinese government, which was very interesting. Eventually they got the cameras out and pictures were taken with me and pretty much every member of their family- fun times. The meal eventually devolved into arm wrestles between me and the kids, but it was all good fun!
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