What do you think about Great Wall?

Great Wall is a monument history of Chinese, is a famous landmark in the world. The Great Wall is a wall which was built by land and rocks from the 5th century BC to 16th century, to protect the Chinese Empire from the attacks of the Xiongnu, Mongolia. Many people known Great Wall, but not many people had set foots here and really feel.

Fortunately, I was one of the people who was travel Great Wall.

Was I really one of those people? I know I rode three hours in a cramped and sweaty van, cracking jokes with random Australians, to reach Jinghshalin- an unrestored, less touristy swath of the Great Wall. Our guide handed us a bottle of water, a Snickers bar and a map, pointed us in the general direction of the pick up point and let us loose. I know all of that happened for sure, but the rest of it?

Great wall 1

Did I really walk on the great wall itself? Observe the dizzying outline as it twisted up and down among the hills? Did I climb the rugged stairs, curving like the back of some huge beast? The stairs of Kyoto have nothing on the Great Wall.

Great wall 2

Great wall 3

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The air was crisp and clean- decidely un-chinalike. No smog, not a cloud in the sky, I could see the wall winding for miles ahead and behind me. What luck for me, and for my photos. It was all so perfect, so unreal.

My companions chatted amiably but would dissipate often for moments of solitude. I stood on the watchtower and gazed out in the vastness in the direction of Mongolia, trying to imagine the fear and strategy that went into building such an enormous structure. Not to mention the manpower, blood, sweat and bones.

Great wall 4

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Even there, sitting ON the wall, it was awful hard to believe where I was.

And on the way home, with the packed dirt of the unrestored wall fresh under my fingernails I still wasn’t sure. Had I really been there?

And now here I am, in Australia. I flew out the day after my Great Wall Climb, knees still aching slightly. Sitting here, in my friend Mattie’s house in Melbourne, the whole experience seems even more remote and improbable.

Maybe that’s why we need to take pictures of ourselves posed in fron to iconic landmarks. It’s proof. Proof that we were really there, really saw the things we saw and did the things we did. Proof to others yes, but also proof to ourselves.

Great wall 5

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