A few things intrigue us from our childhood and ‘The Great Wall’ was one such thing for me. It has always been my wish to lay my foot on it one day and so when I got an official travel offer I made up my mind to visit it somehow. But it turned out that my travel had to be for just a few days and so I just had one Sunday (the day of my arrival in China) to make it to the wall. Undeterred I made a plan to visit it as soon as I landed. My flight landed at 8.30 AM in the morning and by the time I reached hotel it was 9.30. The entire journey from Bangalore to Beijing lasted a day as there was a long wait at Singapore. My colleague accepted to accompany me to the Great Wall and we left off at 11.00.
The temperature outside was -4 degrees Centigrade and this was my first in a sub zero temperature. And it was further low near the mountain containing the wall. Couple that with huge chilly winds on the top and I
was almost shaking. Lucky that my colleague advised me to get some warm clothes for rent at the base and I was saved.
Yet anther fact that I came to know was that a male is considered ‘Man’ if he is able to walk the entire stretch of the Govt renovated wall up and down and believe me it was not an easy task. What carried me on was the enthusiasm I had for it. The wall is steep with steps in many places and in some cases no steps even and to walk stable on it in a freezing temperature is worse enough. I couldn’t get how someone could fight after all this and why would someone else try to climb over it to capture the other side.
It was 70 kms one way and so the task was much simpler. I might have visited it even if it were far away than that. I got a granite with ‘Kayarvizhy’s’ name engraved on it (in Chinese too with the help of my colleague)
Food was my favorite. I ate almost everything that was put forward and since my colleagues weren’t the extreme types they did not go for snakes or scorpions but resisted themselves with Chicken, Mutton, Beaf, Goose, Duck, Octopus, Dog and a few similar items. Everything that I ate was good and far far better than the Chinese restaurants in India and Irvine.
Olympic city was coming up for the 2008 session in Beijing and I still do not understand how they could lay their hands upon such a big area at the heart of the city for constructing such big stadiums.
People were looking good and mostly similar.