Day 15: Great Wall of China! (August 8)
*Photos to come later
I woke up around 6am today, but lazed in bed until a bit after 7am when my alarm went off. With plans to go to have a private driver take us to a less touristy and more scenic part of the Great Wall of China at 8:30am we all got ready to go fairly quickly. It poured rain all last night and was raining still when we woke up. We didn’t have time to grab breakfast which was unfortunate since the drive is a couple of hours long. I spent most of the ride catching up on writing from last night and texting with Shantel. At points along the drive it felt like we were driving through a river there was so much rain. After about 1.5 hours though we arrived at the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China safely.
In total the three youngest of us all probably spent about 4 hours on the wall plus a short bit of time taking a bus up the base and then an open cable car (more like a ski lift) up part of it. Kim and I rode up it together and Jamie and David did so together. Kim and Jamie in their old age (kidding!) seemed to get worn out a bit faster than us and spent probably an hour less than us on the wall. The views from the wall were breathtaking and photos don’t really do it justice. It was amazing to climb for a few hours and know we weren’t even scratching the surface in the total length of the wall. At some points it was quite steep and it was a great workout as we climbed. While climbing a helicopter passed over a few times which I can only imagine would be an incredible way to take in the beauty of the scenery and magnificence of the wall and watchtowers. While there were some other tourist climbing it wasn’t jammed packed which was nice. There were interestingly some quite large insects and bugs flying around a bit as we climbed. We were able to take a fun little toboggan cart down this metal track. I thought it was going to be terrifying, but in fact it was a lot of fun! Once we finished up we were making our way back to meet our driver and we were stopped by so many vendors trying to sell their goods. Magnets, knick knacks, t-shirts for a dollar, and some other things. I bought a personalized stamp for Shantel’s nephew.
The drive back went a bit quicker than the drive there since it had stopped raining. It was pretty uneventful overall and went by quickly since I spent most of it chatting with Shantel which of course was lovely as always, checking my email and texting with with Talaal. He was mostly texting me about things to tease my brother about, haha. It was good fun.
Just after 5pm we made it back to the hotel all a few pounds lighter from sweating so much. Jamie has said the weather has been cooler than normal, but it was so hot and humid it’s hard to imagine it being worse. Jamie and one of my other brothers showered, but Kim and I decided we might as well wait until we were in for the night. The four us then went out for dinner while Dave rested. We went to a restaurant close by which sold duck prepared in some famous way or something I like that. I obviously wasn’t interested in the duck so I wasn’t paying attention. The three of them got a duck dish and one of them also ordered some pie-like dish which was more like a dessert I think. I ate some rice and a fancy mushroom dish. It wasn’t my favorite dish from the trip by any means, but it wasn’t bad that’s for sure. After dinner, we split up with Jamie heading back to the hotel and the three of us going to a frozen yoga place for the two of them to indulge. They both got some avocado flavored froyo with a few different toppings. It made me crave ice cream pretty bad. I looked up a place that has options for me, but it’s pretty far from the hotel. After they enjoyed their treat we stopped into a convenience store to get a few drinks for tonight and tomorrow.
Back from dinner and desserts I got settled in got the hotel to fix the issues with my wifi. Jamie and one of my brothers went out for a short bit and picked up a few snacks which served as Dave’s dinner since he had just got up from lying down for a bit. It looked him Jamie and Dave got a good deal of sun today. I spent most of my night writing a bit, chatting to my friends Tom and Katie, reading the news and listening to the first hilarious episode of “This Sounds Serious” podcast my brother Jamie suggested to me. Kim, unfortunately, wasn’t feeling well so Jamie and I did the best we could to make her feel comfortable. Around 11ish I called it a night and went to bed.