Sep 192005
 

With the land-based portion of my adventure through China nearly over, I realized that I was still missing a significant piece of what I wanted to see before returning to Japan. Kung Fu. So, after wrapping up our one day of souvenir shopping, my dad and I took a cab across Beijing to see a show called “The Legend of Kung Fu.”

God, Kung Fu is awesome.

While far more commercialized than the Thai boxing matches I saw on the streets of Chiang Mai, The Legend of Kung Fu was everything I could’ve hoped for and more. The basic storyline of this highly choreographed production followed the training of a monk on his quest to become a Kung Fu master, demonstrations including everything from the various animal styles to weapons to “iron body” demonstrations where a guy would place his full weight on the tips of spears that had just been used to slice fruit, bending them with his bare skin. All I kept thinking was how much Noz would love to be seeing it. Maybe someday, ‘eh buddy? 🙂

First thing the next morning my dad and I hired a car from our hotel to drive us three hours out of Beijing to the beginning of a five-hour hike over a completely original section of the Great Wall of China. This was truly astonishing. The Great Wall is one of those things that you just have to see to believe. My dad, who has hiked the Grand Canyon, Machu Piccu, volcanoes on several continents, peaks in the Alps, Himalayas, Andes, and Rockies went so far as to say that it was one of the five most magnificent hikes he’s ever been on.

Snaking up and down the highest, most craggy mountain peaks dividing China from Inner Mongolia the Great Wall stretches farther than the eye can see in both directions. Which makes sense, because it stretches for over 3,000 miles. It gets so steep that at certain points you can put your hand out directly in front of you while standing vertically and touch the path that you’re standing on (if you can keep your balance on such a steep grade).

The length that we walked spanned thirty guard towers and a rope bridge across a river. Some of the towers still stood almost unharmed, with only a few holes in the walls here and there, while others had decayed nearly completely. Many of the towers would house a small old Mongolian lady selling bottled water or “I Climbed The Great Wall” T-shirts, but because there were virtually no tourists on this segment I didn’t find them to be frequent enough to cause a particular problem.

During the climb a pair of Mongolian farmers befriended us, chatting about life as a farmer while we walked together. They were very nice, but unfortunately when the climb came to an end they turned out to be nothing more than a pair of guys out to make an extra buck, just like everyone else – they’d simply developed a new scheme to do so. We gave them a little tip and moved on.

During our climb we also met the interesting-looking man pictured to the left. Climbing up a very small, dark staircase and emerging into a roofless guard tower, he was waiting at the top to greet us with a huge toothless grin and an excited thumbs up. He offered us both a taste from his five-foot long opium pipe which we politely declined, handing him a few cents in exchange for this photograph.

After descending the wall and being transported back to Beijing by our 400lb stern-faced driver, we popped across the street for a delicious $1 meal of meat skewers and noodles before hopping on a bicycle-taxi (like the one shown in my previous post) through Tiananmen Square on our way to the most interesting night market I’ve ever seen.

But before I continue, a brief unrelated topic. My dad brought up an interesting point while the two of us were discussing my blog the other day: I’ve recently got into the habit of posting huge entries with long delays in between. I’ve never really thought of it this way, but he suggested if I were to instead produce shorter posts with greater frequency it might be easier to hold my readers’ attention. I think that’s a fantastic idea. Whenever I check my daily reads I love it when there’s a new entry, so why not break mine up so that they pop up more often, and aren’t too overwhelming to read in a sitting?

Of course this isn’t always possible (particularly while on the road) but I’m going to do my best, especially once I get back to Japan and have more regular internet access.

So, stay tuned for tales of food that will give you nightmares!

  14 Responses to “The Mega Trip Part 9 (The Great Wall)”

  1. First of all…..I was getting worried while reading your post. I almost got to the bottom and hadn’t seen a picture of you in a structure shirt. Thank god that didn’t happen 🙂

    The great wall sounds like a blast. It would be fun to take a month and try to see the whole thing w/ a bike or something. It looks like a lot of it wouldn’t be rideable, but you could always carry your bike when it got rough.

    I love the idea of shorter posts. I much prefer blogs that actually get updated regularly. Noz’s blogs seem to be the exact opposite of this. He makes a new blog every 6 months, updates it for a week, and then never bothers to update it again. If I were doing more stuff than I am at the moment (sitting in bed sick or studying alone in my room for the LSAT/GMAT), I would update my blog every day (http://www.andrewstrauss.net for those of you that don’t know)

    Aight man….keep the structure shirt pics coming….ciao,

    Andy

  2. I agre with Andy…shorter more frequent entries would be cool….I also agree with him, that I almost fainted and became dizzy when I thought I was going to go through an entire entry without seeing you in a structure shirt. phew, thank god you were wearing one!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    much love

  3. Short, long, more or less frequent, it doen’t matter to me. I love all of your posts. Your Dad is really cool. Now I know where you get it from.

  4. Wonderful photos as usual. The chain-bridge ticket office … I loved it! 🙂

  5. Wow, I got mentioned twice! One in the post, and once in the comment! Andy, my blogging habits are quite peculiar indeed. I regularly think of interesting things to say, but my short term memory is so bad that I never get to a computer in time to say exactly what I was thinking, and at that point I give up and say “I’ll remember the next one…”

    That said, you have inspired me, I shall blog more.

    Now to address the gentleman upon whose website I so lightly tread: Mr. Klein, I am honored that you thought of my and my kung fu longing as you witnessed the spectacle you so ably described. Indeed, perhaps someday I shall see it myself. Until then, I will be satisfied with imagining many chinese people (with poor english reading ability) trying to read your STR br UCT br URE shirt.

    (note to the people who are lucky enough to have never programmed anything: br means “line break” or “carriage return” or, if you have never seen a typewriter, “enter”)

  6. Justin,
    Your photos and descriptions are wonderful. I’m enjoying China from afar. I look forward to more of your adventutes. Have fun!
    Love,
    Irene

  7. “Until then, I will be satisfied with imagining many chinese people (with poor english reading ability) trying to read your STR br UCT br URE shirt.”

    MIGHT BE THE FUNNIEST THING I HAVE EVER, EVER READ, LOLOLOL!!!!!!

  8. Still having fun, I see? Meanwhile, I’m here trying to keep up with the YHM applications that are flying across my desk. Get your ass back to Kyoto so you can start helping me sort the wheat from the chaff.

    G-Life, bitch!

  9. I agree Jeff…….STR br UCT br URE is HILLARIOUS!!!!!

    You gotta love noz 🙂

    Andy

  10. Justin,

    I hate blogs. Hell, I hate the WORD ‘blog’. It sounds like a retarded Ukranian fisherman; Blog Usrkovic. However, I love reading your online journal of asian adventures. I will make it my goal to destroy the word ‘blog’.

    I hope you’re enjoying your travels and learning alot about the cultures too. Not just the negative they shit everywhere sense, but more importantly the historical meanings and amazing events that have not only shaped the countries you’re in, but also understood how they have affected other parts of the world. I noticed you quickly made mention of Tianemen Sqaure; I hope you know the historical signifigance of that place and how important it was in the course of China’s recent political struggles. Lots of amazing information to take in with your fun lovin’ ways.

    I’ve given up on trying to convince you to buy new clothes. You’ll buy arrows you can use in any way whatsoever other than wall decoration (don’t get me wrong, I’d definitely get them too) but you won’t put out the cash for some new duds. So I propose a new request; be naked in your pictures. Yup, hairless and shiny like you are, with maybe your tighty-whities on. At least then we won’t have to endure more structure t-shirts or black shorts. Have fun, stay safe, and keep all the good stuff coming. Till later, we all miss you. Bye.

    -Shahin

  11. While I enjoy your descriptive pictures, Noz’s hilarious comments, Shahin’s somewhat inappropriate ones, and the general banter of this site, I must confess I’m rather disappointed by the lack of womanly exploits exhibited here. Though clearly it is now a proven reality that girls are not a priority in your traveling itinerary, I would nonetheless derive unlimited joy from reading at least the potential fuck-ups and failures that come with the game. After all, a picture may speak a thousand words but a picture of a hot chick says oh so much more.

    P.S. Your dad looks pretty fit for an old fart.

  12. Wow. After reading of your adventures in China, it almost doesn’t seem like an Evil Empire of Evil.

    …almost. But I’m definately looking forward to vacationing there.

  13. I like the idea of shorter posts. How about writing 1 paragraph every 3 hours? That way you can still get SOME sleep.

  14. U toke a lot of pictures.
    I m a Chinese girl,but I haven`t been to the Great Wall.
    I like to travel 2.
    In Japan now,I ever lived kyoto 4 half year.Now in Nagoya.
    Happy to see ur Pictures

 Leave a Reply

(required)

(required)


(required)

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

jfb_p_buttontext

Contact | Disclaimer
©2004-2017 Justin Klein
whos online
Feedburner
HTML5 Valid
04-28-2017 23:43:29UTC 0.28s 64q 5.11MB