We decided to go to the Great Wall today. But it's wasn't that easy. Being budget wary hardened travellers we had to do it ourselves rather than pay to have someone wisk us there and back in comfort. But getting the bus is nearly impossible. They have these "fake" buses that take you on long trips stopping at factories and shops along the way and trying to ware you down until you eventually buy something you never knew you wanted for way more than its worth. There is a bus for the locals that goes straight there, but they do everything they can to stop you getting it, including scratching the directions off of sign posts or telling you the wrong way. They even put the bus number on private buses and have people dressed in the official uniform trying to heard you on. The people that do actually work there ignore it because they get a cut. Eventually we found the right bus, it had the biggest que but you didn't get bored as you constantly had someone frusting some old toot in your face trying to get you to buy it, after a lot of saying no they would finally give up and look at you in disgust then move out of the way for the next person to take their place and start the whole process again. Then when the bus finally arrived everyone would forget the que charge to the bus and all try and fit through the door at once. Eventually we made it unfortunately Steve had no room to sit down amongst all the waving cats, dancing mice and chocolate tea pots he had brought in the que. The setting felt a world away from the city, for the first time you could breathe real air and there was greenery. Not surprisingly getting to the wall involved a lot of pushing and shoving. But we had made it! I had finally seen the Great Wall, one of the wonders of the world.
Now I prize myself on being honest and telling it how it is so here goes. It's just a wall, it's not even fancy it's no different to any other wall. After seeing several world wonders that are famous for being big I've come to the conclusion that if the main selling point is its size it's probably not that good. Even if it is big, what do you do. You arrive, go yep that's big and then what? The thing is you get guilted in to these things. People would say oh you can't go to China and not see the Great Wall. In that case id say don't come to China. Tomorrow we leave Beijing and I have to say I am glad. It's my own thought really, I wanted to leave the rat race behind me, and I went to the biggest rat race of them all. All in all it wasn't terrible. We met some great people and the food was gorgeous. In the evening the crowds and temperature died down and the hutongs were quite atmospheric with so much to see and do, but I don't think id come back. Im just not a city person. If i had to give a highlight of Beijing it was seeing everybody waring those T-shirts you see in all Cities declaring their love for the city with a big heart on them - here they all walked round waring T-shirts saying I ❤ BJ. Never failed to make me laugh!