19-04-08 is the date
We just about managed to tear ourselves away from Beijing. I think that it is the best city I have visited thus far.
^these are a few things we have already encountered in china.
1. Everyone in china spits. The question is not whether to do it or not, it is how you should go about it. It seems old men like to make as much noise as possible wherever they are be it a bank or in the street. The chinese favourite is definately the snot rocket which we had be warned about and have now witnessed on countless ocassions.
2.The Chinese are all friendly! We have not met anyone yet without a smile when they see us cycling by and old people and children are the best calling out hooolo as soon as they witness the whiteness.
3. We have been in so many photos. It seems a great novalty for the chinese to pull the chessiest smile and pose next to a foriegner.
4. We saw several boxes fall off a van into mud the other day and they were full of stingray. The driver just jumped out, picked them up coated in thick brown mud and threw them back in the van. Not before busting a massive grin in our direction
there are loads more but I cant remember right now
We took the train north east for a few hours to Qinhuandao which turned out to be the biggest industrial dump we had ever seen. We have heard from other travellers that china has many of these cities with well over a million occupants that nobody seems to have heard of. We though the city was on the coast and had decided to camp but after walking for about an hour are seeing nothing but warehouses and factories we gave up the idea. Very luckily we literally stubbled into a small celebration, for what it was for we never did find out. A sound system had been set up between two small houses and there were over a hundred chinese forming a ring with people on roof tops and all sorts. As soon as we were spotted with our massive bags we became of bigger interest than the singers and so in a very ceramonious way we were brought by the 'festival' organiser to the front and given the best seats and copious ammounts of monkey-nuts. A lot of singing and dancing went down and at one point we were coxed to make a few blunt chinese words on the mic. The night ended with a shrill trumpet piece and we went on our way deciding to sleep hext to the main road behinf some bushes.
As I had lost the best time piece of the twentyith century( the casio F91W-1 somewhere in beijing) we were using an old school alarm clock we had found in the hostel as our sole means of telling the time. So we woke thinking it was about 10 and it turned out to be about 6am. We jumped straight on a train bound for Shanhaiguan the place where the great wall meet the sea. We had opted for this site rather than the touristy more rebuilt parts of the wall closer to beijing as we wanted to see some unrestored sections and we hoped to camp close to, if not on, the wall itself. After several problems getting to the right place we started our hike in the early afternoon after leaving excess wieght at the station.
Our accent was up the first peak which the great wall spans. The wall was alot steeper than we had thought it would be with some sections having ladders in order to climb up. At about half way the wall is blocked off but as other people seemed to be climbing over regardless, we followed. The wall close to the top was just rubble but just the thought of its construction puts my brain in a funny position. The view, although quite cloudy from the top, was amazing: seeing the wall snake up the mountain. The protected area closed at 7pm and so we set up camp close to the wall with the mountain to our selves. the unfortunate thing was that it rained all night and although our bivvi bags are water proof in order to stay dry from the rain the bag has to be almost completly sealed at the head which means that condensation collects inside and this is not the nicest way to spend the night even if you are camping in the best place in china.