This weekend, as a “treat” for immersion students, the office put together an immersion-only trip to a different section of the Great Wall. My roommates and I were excited, because it’s hard to see everyone frequently when we live in the one apartment that’s in a different neighborhood than all of the others.
On Saturday morning, we all met up to take a series of buses to the Wall.The place we went was definitely not city, but it also wasn’t exactly rural, either. My roommate called it the “tourist nongcun” or basically a more rural area built largely around Great Wall tourism.
The place we stayed the night was very cool, and we took up almost the entire compound. We settled in, and wandered around a bit before dinner.
After playing a few program-organized “games,” we planned to go out exploring again, but our plans were foiled. The whole trip was like being on a middle/high school field trip leash again. We were scolded about wandering off on our own, so instead of making that poor decision, we were heartily encouraged to go buy some liquor and hang out. Which, basically, was what happened.
So here’ a side note about liquor in China— It’s not good. Chinese wine is not good, and good imported wine is absurdly expensive. Anyone who knows me know I couldn’t tell you anything about the beer, although apparently that’s nothing spectacular either. I don’t see many other liquors in the grocery stores in our neighborhoods, not that I’m particularly inclined toward any except for vodka. Plus I’m not one to hit up the foreigner bars on the weekends. But what China does have is bai jiu. If you haven’t met bai jiu, don’t be too curious. This stuff is the definition of wicked awful, and they always have it fully stocked. I had never had it before, and I’d be happy to never have it again. All in all, it was good to have the chance to hang out with the immersion group all together and get to know everyone a little better.
The next morning we woke up to do what we had gone there to do, which was explore a section of the Great Wall. Unlike the last trip to the Wall, this section was almost completely unrepaired. It was straight-up hiking and climbing just to get to the Wall, and then scrambling along the crumbling wall. This was, by far, my favorite trip so far in China. Pictures can do better to describe…
After coming back down, we headed back to Beijing. About 30 minutes away from our destination, my stomach got uncomfortable. About 20 minutes away from our destination, I had a full case of food poisoning. So all-in-all, I’m sorry the post is mostly pictures, but it’s the most I can manage at this point. The pictures are better, anyway.
I hope all is well with everyone, happy Easter!!