Beijing & The Great Wall

Last week I visited Beijing because my friend Lily was in town before moving to Tokyo. She was nice enough to show me around some of Beijing and accompany me to my first time visiting The Great Wall. It was fun! We visited a less touristy section called Jinshanling, much of which is not restored, or not for the past couple hundred years, anyway, hah. Enjoy the photos.

Lily recommended me a hostel that her & Mike had stayed in, and because of it’s proximity, I chose it also. Very nice place, here’s a shot of the bar area and where I had breakfast the day I left. I stayed in a shared room, and I’m glad I did! Met a couple cool people with neat stories, both coincidentally had been to Tibet. I need to go!

This shot is for Erica. Look! Haha. Yay consumerism.

Not sure what’s happening here, but I snapped a photo anyway.  This was at Tian’anmen Square, which is big, and open, and full of tourists.

I wish the sign on the left hadn’t been there and that this guard had been in the exact middle of the bridge, would have added to the symmetry, but I guess this is close enough. I was trying to creatively hide Mao’s portrait.


People were touching these door things. Having seen people touch many things in many places, I’ll assume here what was true for the rest; it’s good luck of some sort.

Here’s a 180° panorama from right outside the Forbidden City.

These guys were college students who needed to interview an English speaker, on video. I had time, and I remembered what it was like to try and do assignments like this, so I obliged, then took a photo.

Inside the Forbidden City.

“It’s like abstract, or something.” – me, to which Lily laughed :P

Anatomically correct tree?

Forbidden Kitty!

The next day, and after much fumbling around trying to research and plan, we headed off toward the Great Wall. Along the way, we came across a man’s card, who drives people to the wall. We negotiated a price, and started heading that way. He began telling Lily (who then later translated) that some land near the Simatai part of the Great Wall, which is currently closed for reconstruction, or something, had been sold to a company, who was building a resort on it. The catch was, that land had a village on it, but that obviously didn’t matter, as I’m sure profit is king here just as anywhere else. The driver pulled the car over on an overpass to show us this scene below, in the photo above, several people are on their hands and knees mourning, you can see a photo in a frame, presumably of the deceased. Here is an article I found about the situation, from last year.

In the bottom left corner, you can see the scene from the previous photo, as well as the village,  the resort being constructed behind it, and behind that, way in the distance, on top of the mountain, the Simatai part of the Great Wall.

A closer view of the village, the resort being constructed, and the Simatai section of The Great Wall, note all the watchtowers on the mountain top.

We only saw a handful of people while hiking the wall.

There were guards in some of the towers, here’s a nice woman we talked to for a moment.

Yeah, that’s snow/ice. It was pretty cold up there, and on some of the places not facing the sun, snow was still present.

If you’re Facebook friends with me, check out my page for a video I posted. It was my friend Will’s birthday, and I thought a funny and unique gift would be to take a ‘birthday shot’ for him on the Great Wall and record a video of it. Here’s a photo of me with some baijiu.

At this point, I was kicking myself for not coming to the Wall the day before, when there was inexplicable gorgeous blue sky, in a city I’ve been told is so polluted it’s not often seen. I think my photos would have been a thousand times better had I gone when there was blue sky, but, hopefully I’ll be able to try again one day.

Balancing my camera precariously on the wall for a group shot.

click for larger sizeHere’s a full 360° panorama. It’s not perfect, but you can click for a larger view.


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