Travel rumours – China’s hidden treasure

When you’re on the road meetings other travellers rumours abound about the good and bad sights to see. Sometimes you pick up a hot tip about some undiscovered site yet to be picked up by the masses. Thus, we find ourselves on a bus to go and see some secret unpublicised gem of China’s heritage, some sort of large wall.

OK. Enough of the bullshit, we’re off to see the ‘Great Wall of China’ or rather one bit of it. Possibly one of the best known tourist attractions after the Pyramids in Egypt and Ealing Broadway’s bunny park.

I’m not really sure what I’m going to make of a bit of a very long wall, it seems to me a bit like looking at a heavily magnified area of the Mona Lisa. Hmmm, ‘nice brush strokes’ you say unable to take in its whole grandeur. Still, until space tourism becomes a reality and Easyjet start doing flights I suppose I’ll have to settle for looking at a bit of it.

….Some hours later….

Blimey, it’s very impressive. My first reaction was ‘How the hell did they build that there?’ What I had singularly failed to grasp from looking at photographs is that it runs along the peaks of a mountain range. Think about that for a moment, that’s a very silly place to build a wall.

The section we visited is so high up we had to get a cable car followed by a funicular railway and then hike up a hundred feet of steps to reach it. That my friends is a long way up.
Think about carrying up all the bricks and the mugs of tea, it’d be cold by the time you got there.

Fortuitously, there was no danger of being alone at the top of the world and of course shopping opportunities abound. One dear old lady ‘Not guide, only farmer’ I shall call her huffed and puffed around with me for almost the entire duration. She kept complaining I was going too fast ‘you young, me old’ she repeatedly endlessly, which struck me as a rather odd complaint for a tout, a little bit like the policeman chasing a robber and complaining he’s running too fast.

Anyway she didn’t seem to be having any trouble keeping up even as I leapt up several precarious flights of stairs and then ducked into a watch tower in an attempt to lose her. I suspect she’s ex Chinese secret police with trailing skills like those.

I eventually found here Achilles heel, she didn’t have the fare for the cable car, although she could still be heard yelling as I sailed off in to the distance… ‘No guide, only farmer’

‘Why aren’t you tilling your bloody land then’ I uttered under my breath.

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