I’m awaken by my roommate’s alarm. After awhile I get up, shower and start blogging, double posts for you dear readers. Of course I should be focusing on train schedules. But that’s the bad habit I developed– dawdling. Also nightly beer to stay hydrated.
The owner writes which train tickets I want in Chinese for me to hand over at the ticket office. He says there’s only a hundred tickets left and I should leave immediately to buy them. That sounds like a lot but okay.
I stop for lunch. Not sure if it’s the noodle place google said but it was noodles and lots of people. I forget that spicy means spicy here. Over did it with the spicy beef.
Stomach full and mouth burning, I head over to the railway station.
This is one of three (?) train stations. The lines outside are long but I’m not sure what it’s for. I go inside and find the lines much shorter. Despite being the only person on line, a woman cuts me. I get my tickets.
The hard part is leaving. There’s a line for security to get into the subway. I stand behind an older woman and follow as she starts cutting the line. Excellent. After some back and forth on refilling my metro card, I’m at the station.
There are several sections of the Great Wall that you can visit. Jingshanling, that I went to earlier, was at the top of my list but I also wanted a second hike. Badaling did not even make the list. It’s super polished and crowded. And yet where am I going today? Badaling. It’s the closest section to Beijing and also the easiest to get to. Hop on the train and in 1.5 hours you’re there. Even Mutianyu a little farther out requires two buses and almost three hours each way. I didn’t want an all day thing. My plan is to go late in the day when the tour buses leave and the lighting gets good.
I missed the train I want for Badaling. Ugh. I wait for the next one. Looking at the schedule I’m unsure about the return. Is it really at 9pm? I’ll find out soon enough. I wish I brought my jacket. Snack time! What I found odd was the precooked individually wrapped chicken legs, not refrigerated.
I’m on the train and it slowly creeps closer. People left their empty bottles and sunflower seed shells all over. Someone eventually comes by to clean it.
Oh my god. When I got near the wall, I thought it was closed. It was briefly to allow some politicians to leave from their visit. Everyone rushes to the ticket office and onto the wall! You have two options– walk north or south. I chose north, not really sure why everyone was on that side.
Okay, get ready for my favorite photo:
I’m standing on a rock platform trying to get a photo of myself above the crowd. The preview screen is dark so I try the flash. And that’s what happened. I had no idea he was next to me nor did he know I was taking a photo! He saw the photo pop up on the screen and we both had a good laugh.
The sun starts to set and I honestly can’t believe I’m here! That I spent all that time debating, agonizing over the decision to leave it all to travel. I know I’m not gone long but I’ve been thinking about it over and over and planning possible countries to visit… And here I am watching the sun set outside Beijing on the Great Wall. It’s unbelievable and I think to myself whatever happens later, I’ll be okay.
I’ll be okay as it gets dark and cold on the wall and there’s no one around and I don’t know when the train is. Will I catch a draft? Are these soldiers or shady men, I can barely tell in the dark? I’m concerned. I start to rush back, polishing the hand rails.
I catch up with a person or two and slow down to a more relax pace. I don’t know when the wall closes but no one is coming around to kick you out. Helpless tourists can freeze their asses off if they like. I get to the train station but I’m too early for once.
Gleefully, I finally get to open the antibacterial towelettes I’ve been carrying around. Those hand rails are gross.
I’m back at the hostel and talk to my roommates for the first time.