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Beijing - Day One

The weather in Beijing now is very nice, hovering around mid 20s Celcius. Of course, any trip to China is not complete without the mandatory trip to scale the Great Wall, and so The Princess and friends set off to Badaling, the nearest point to the city.

Tips: Take a taxi to Deshengmen and from there, take coach 919 (CNY 13/way). The coach will drop you near the entrance to Badaling Great Wall.

The journey to Badaling was a pleasant one, as we passed by scenic mountains. We even saw camels grazing at the foot of the mountain! The Princess even befriended a guy who had mistaken her for a tour guide. The Princess took the opportunity to bombard him with all sorts of questions ranging from what's the brand of the best mooncake, how to get to the Summer Palace, where to find the best kao ya (roast duck) etc.

When we got off the coach, the cool, crisp mountain air hit us and instantly, we perked up. Walking towards the ticket booth, we made occasional stops at the many souvenirs stalls along the way. And then it hit The Princess - the realisation that today she would not enjoy the trip as much as she should.

A girl in her group was being pain in the ass. First, you should have eaten something before we left for Badaling, knowing this IS China and rice and noodles ARE the staple food here, not pizza and pasta. Second, up there in the mountain, you'll not find McDonald's or Kentucky so stop complaining about how you can't take rice/noodles. Third, knowing you can only take halal food, you should have prepared some food to be taken with you instead of lamenting on the non-existence of halal food, up in the mountain! Fourth, if you want to shop, go somewhere else. All The Princess wanted was to climb the Wall. At least do it when you're done climbing the wall so that you don't have to lug your stuff around. Lastly, even if you don't speak Chinese, you don't call th waiter by making "tsk,tsk" sound. Maybe from where you come from it's normal,but it's downright rude everywhere else. Seriously, if you're not working with me, I would have laughed out loudly at your stupidity and ignorance. Stupid girl.

Enough ranting. Let's move on to the star itself, The Wall. The entrance cost CNY 45. If you'd like to visit the museum and other attractions, buy an all inclusive ticket instead. To get to the Wall, you can either take the left or right path. The left path is steeper but is shorter while the right path is considerably easier to climb but longer. We chose the shorter but harder path as there were less people going that way.

It's a shame it was foggy that day

We had not past the quarter mark before Miss Pain In the Ass started complaining it was too strenuous and she'd wait for us there if we'd still like to finish the climb. Of course, when you're puffing the ciggies away like no tomorrow. Judging from the whale that she is, The Princess thought the climb would do her some good. Well, she didn't come all the way and pay CNY45 to sniff the air here, so you could wait down there for all she cares. Stupid girl.

Just starting the climb

All along the wall, there were many stalls selling all kinds of souvenirs imaginable, begging you to part with your money. From mugs with your photo with the wall as the background plastered across it, kitschy " I have climbed the Great Wall" t-shirts and certificates to handpainted paintings, you can make small breaks browsing through all the knick-knacks.

The Princess perched prettily on the wall

More narcisstic picture

Another view of the wall

It was a nice experience all in all (plus it burns calories). It's so hard even for The Princess to climb it, imagine the difficulty faced by those men building it using only their bare hands. It is said that the Great Wall is one of those constructions that can be seen from the space. You can only feel the greatness of the wall when you've set your feet upon it, as the 10,000 miles wall snakes its way throught the valleys and mountains beyond. Upon reaching the highest sentry of the Badaling Great Wall, The Princess truly felt like declaring "I have climbed the Great Wall".

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