Where are all the people?


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Asia » China
September 20th 2005
Published: October 19th 2005
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View of TowerView of TowerView of Tower

A few of the towers houses enterprising farmers who sell 5 times marked up water and soda.
Great Wall Wow, amazing in size, scale, terrain, conscripted labor effort and the fact that there was hardly anyone there, I could believe my luck, yeah for Tuesday. I was meant to take the tour (tour because the section I wanted to visit required several bus changes I wasn't motivated for) on Sunday but the late Beijing nights sort of messed it up. I'm told the tour operator came into my room and physically assaulted me, Monday morning, my four roommates were all up and laughing their asses off at me. The combination of no sleep, ear numbing music and a few beers put me in comatose. The section I choose was 3.5 hours from Beijing and allowed a through hike to another access point, just over 10km of hiking. Parts were restored, picture perfect, parts were also original, crumbling, steep and vegetation taken hold. I enjoyed entire sections where the only thing in my photograph was the wall itself, after everything else I've done here I was completely shocked by it. There was a long section of the wall built just along a giant cliff, why would you need a wall protecting a 100 meter drop? Another mystery as to why it is there in the first place. I did the hike with a few guys I'd met from the hotel, they spent the whole day taking the piss out of each other, made me miss everyone back home, all the secrets and dirt you have on your close friends. And yea there is also a cable car at the wall, sad.

Tai Shan - China's holiest mountain, Emperors have climbed, Mao has climbed it, rather clambered, even Confucius himself scaled it, oh and everyone else too. Tai Shan, the guidebook says, is the most climbed mountain on earth, a mecca for Chinese. The stairs are on this one number over 6660. For sure I did this one at night, there was just enough moon light to go with out the torch, giving it the mystical feel that drives so many to climb it in the first place. With three cable cars it was definitely a good idea. I made it up before sunrise and was treated to a pale sunrise and a sea of clouds below the peak and no bullhorns. I was down by breakfast time, a famous Tai Shan egg onion and chili pancake spun thin
Great Wall 2Great Wall 2Great Wall 2

The hazy isn't pollution, its the desert that has been creeping up on Beijing for years.
on what reminded me of a pottery wheel.

My luck ends with crowds in Shanghai, I planned poorly and arrived in the middle of China's Golden Week. Some 400,000,000 people travel on this week, staggering. The Bund, famous walk along the river, couldn't move, river of people next to the river. Travelling long term means some poor timing on some locations so I jumped in with the rest. Shanghai has a fabulous museum, amazing masks, jade, paintings just a small sample in areas where the camera was allowed. Three days was a bit much as I'm not much of a shopper these days but for a solid contrast to almost everything else in China Shanghai has to be felt and seen.


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Curved BrickCurved Brick
Curved Brick

On some steep climbs the wall would bend with the hill, it work well as these sections were almost always in the best shape.
English LadsEnglish Lads
English Lads

I spent most of the day laughing, teasing each other like only old friends can. A-prod!
Tai ShanTai Shan
Tai Shan

The gate at the top just before dawn.
Tai Shan sunriseTai Shan sunrise
Tai Shan sunrise

Huge Russian jackets could be rented at the top for the chair lift slackers.
The BundThe Bund
The Bund

I had to fight my way to the front for this picture. Behind me are millions.
Fourth highest in the world.Fourth highest in the world.
Fourth highest in the world.

An 800,000 kg brass ball is suspended inside this building acting as an earthquake dampener.
Night ShoppingNight Shopping
Night Shopping

Because of the holidays the city stayed alive till very late.


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