After a fun night in Hong Kong, it was time to head to the airport to fly to Beijing. I wish I had another day in Hong Kong because there is so much to do, but China is so big and there was so little time. Unfortunately the 2nd day consisted primarily of traveling. Our flight didn’t leave until 12:30pm or so and we then had about a 3 hour drive to the city we spent the night. Our hotel was a nice 5 star hotel that seemed practically empty and the workers spoke very very little English. Personally, I would have rathered SAS save us a few dollars by going to a cheaper place, but it was very nice and I was able to Skype a little bit with my family, so that was nice. The city we stayed in was very residential and because it was a week day, it seemed very quiet. A few of us did try to go out and explore a little, and we heard there was a McDonalds nearby. Myself and Kevin just kind of wandered around looking for any ATM or McDonalds. After going down a bunch of different side alleys, unsuccessfully asking for directions, accidentally dropping my camera, and getting stared at by every person that we saw, we finally made it to McDonalds. This was actually the first country that I ate McDonalds, but I figured I would do some comparisons. Little did I know that we would actually be served McDonald Big Macs on top of the Great Wall as our lunch the next day. I had a blueberry McFlurry and a mango smoothie. I’m not sure if you can get those in the U.S. After McD’s we headed back to the hotel to get ready for our 2 dayish hiking of the Great Wall.
I got up at 6am to skype because of the 12 hour difference, and even though my speakers were acting up, it was really great to be able to Skype my Dad. We left the hotel at 8am and about a half an hour to a more remote section of the Great Wall. The Great Wall might be a little boring to write about, but I find nothing truly boring about it at all. The architecture, the history, and the endless mountain views in every direction make all of the endless stairs worth it. It is truly a wonder of the world and everyone should make a point in visiting. At lunch we were served McDonalds and local farmers carried our lunches up to us. We were also accompanied by a bunch of ladies mostly in their mid 50′s who are farmers and souveneir hikers, who hike sections of the wall everyday with tourists and then try to sell souveneirs at the end. I met a few of them and they are truly nice, dedicated, and hardworking ladies. Whenever we reached a ledge or an extra high step, they would help everyone up, we also did the same with them. Although I believe that the ladies were truly nice and friendly, their ultimate goal was to establish a relationship throughout the trip so that you will buy something from them at the end of the trip. I did end up buying from them one of them at the end- a book and a panda hat. The items were a little over priced and they were all pretty much set on price so it was hard to negotiate. After a full day on the wall and off, on some off-wall mountain trail, we headed back to the hotel.