October 28, 2012
The first time I went to the Great Wall was when ACC took students there over the summer. It was somewhat exciting (it was, after all, the Great Wall of China) but there were just so many crowds, it was sweltering hot, and we had to hike miles just to get to the Wall from the parking lot. Worst of all, the fog and pollution were so bad on that day that we could hardly see anything. I would look out from the Wall and just see…misty grayness.
However, this time around more than made up for it! This semester our teachers took us to a different section of the Wall, Jinshanling, which is supposed to be the most spectacular around the Beijing area. And I cannot disagree with that! The weather was pretty near perfect, with clear blue skies, sun, and a little breeze. It was the perfect temperature for hiking and the leaves were beautiful shades of yellow and red.
But the best part was, of course, the Wall itself. The Chinese government has tidied up many parts of the Wall for tourists, and these sections have nice, neat paths. But other parts of the Wall are old and crumbling, and, in my opinion, much more exciting. Out of our two options (go left or right) my group went right and chose the older path, and it was such a blast! It is hard to remember how old the Wall is while hiking the more kept-up parts, but the section we walked was literally falling into disrepair. I felt like I was in Ancient China. We had to climb up a little ways to get around a few sections, and we had to step carefully in a lot of places. It was all beautiful. Everywhere I looked I could just see the Great Wall stretching into the distance, until I couldn't see any further.
We even made it to the end! Well, sort of. After an hour and a half or so, we ran into a big concrete block with barbed wire with the words "Go no further." Which some students ignored, and then proceeded to climb around it. Most of the rest of us turned around. I wasn't really in the mood to risk falling and breaking my limbs on that particular day.
The other exciting part of this trip is that I actually ran into other people from Kentucky! They saw my University of Kentucky shirt and asked if I was went there. I explained that Louisville is my hometown, and it turned out that they go to a small college in Kentucky that a lot of my high school friends also attend. That actually made me miss home a little bit (and just a side note in case my Chinese advisor reads this, I did ask permission from my teacher to speak English to them!). But talk about a small world!
Major / Minor: Chinese / Studio Art
Activities: Model UN, Student Assembly
Favorite pastimes: Glen runs (especially in the fall!), Diner B, splurging on way too many Cafe Opus cookies and chai tea lattes and intramural basketball, usually found at the gym or the art studio
Hometown: Prospect, Ky.
High School: Kentucky Country Day High School