We got our wakeup call at the appropriate time and excitedly started dressing. Our Chinese roommate asked us what time it was then got out of bed and went to the bathroom. I left to see if I could find some breakfast (which I never found) and never saw him again. Caitlyn came to the lobby to tell me that he told her to “tell your friend I give her my best” and he seriously peaced out of the room and we have no idea where he went because I didn’t see him leave the lobby and he left the room and it was also 5:45am I guess we’ll never know…
It was me and Caitlyn and another couple. The tour was supposed to leave at 6:20 but he rushed us out to the van at a little past 6 (good thing we were early) and then went to 4 other hostels. We were packed into this tiny tiny van, there was no leg room at all and some American girl teaching English was freaking out “im claustrophobic” blah blah. Caitlyn and I planned on putting up a Brittish front and asking her if she was American “you are slightly obese and have been complaining a lot”. So basically we found the reason why the American nationality is being tarnished around the world. Anyway, we stopped at some corner where this man gave everyone in the bus breakfast (well everyone except Caitlyn and I we think maybe because we were supposed to have gone a day earlier) and we met with another small van and a huge coach bus, of course the American girl starts flipping out wondering why she isn’t on the big bus. She even had the nerve to talk to one of the people in charge of our tour- this small Chinese girl- complaining about the space. She’s obviously never been on a rowing team. She didn’t switch and we got to ride with her for the entire 3 hour trip.
We stopped halfway and were able to get lunch (a banana some bread and water) we were in the country in China it was pretty sweet. There were a lot a lot of mountains and farms and stuff. I took some pictures.
When we got to the Great Wall we had to wait for the other van and bus to catch up and we saw a bunch of touristy stuff like hats and tee shirts and stuff. I also got to use a squatting toilet! Seriously it was a highlight. Our group was huge so when the tour guide was talking no one was paying attention and I couldn’t even hear him. Something about the cable cars or walking the whole way, of course we wanted to walk the whole way so we figured we’d just follow the crowd. We started making our way up to the wall and the steps were SO steep. It was pretty much like “is this seriously going to be it for the whole way? But the wall was sooooo awesome and vast and it was crazy just looking at it and being like “this is the great wall of china. Weird.”
We finally got to the great wall and there was a map we thought the tour guide had told us to go left so we turned left (the crowd had magically disappeared) and then started walking, we saw two people from our group so we felt pretty sure of ourselves. We started getting weary halfway to the first tower when NO ONE was following us. We took some pictures and turned around. Thankfully it was a good thing that we turned around or else we would have been lost on the great wall. Would have been a good story but thankfully one that I don’t have to tell.
The wall was amazing, we met a bunch of people on it like boys who graduated from Notre Dame, one who’s major was Mandarin so he was talking to all the Chinese people and the other one’s major was Poli Sci and Econ but he said he wanted to write and that he had two blogs going. The wall was so great and it was funny because at every tower there would be old women saying “beer, coke, water” I saw some people getting beers every once in a while but refrained. (by the way I’m wearing gap flip flops during this whole hike). We also saw this family of 2 small blonde kids and a mom and they were funny because the kids were just running up and down the wall and the mom wasn’t out of shape but they had a lot of energy. We kept leap frogging them because they would stop for water then run ahead. Eventually about halfway through the hike we noticed that the kids were being lead by an old Chinese woman with their mom trailing behind. THEN we hear the blonde kids start spitting mandarin like it’s their job to this woman. THE KIDS WERE FLUENT IN MANDARIN. Seriously they couldn’t have been older than 7. I turned to the boy from Notre Dame and asked him how he felt knowing that he spent his whole college degree on something the 7 year old could easily do. It was funny.
Also we met a boy from florida and his roommates who were studying in Hong Kong but mostly everyone was teaching English or traveling.
On the great wall I saw 4 lizards which I wanted to try and catch but was in the middle of a conversation each time I saw one and I didn’t want to look weird lunging toward something on the ground so I didn’t do it. We also so a lot of millipedes which I eventually picked up and Caitlyn and I put it on our hands and took pictures (facebooookkkkk). At the end of the 10k hike there was a zipline to a boat that would take us to our parking lot. OF COURSE we did it (after I took a picture of the Notre Dame boys shot gunning a beer which I’m not sure how I feel about but anyway…) The zipline was really cool. Caitlyn also took a video of that and it’s on facebook. I’m tagged in it so it should be kind of easy to find. Then we took a boat and that was nice, but it was a pretty short ride. A small van took us to the restaurant that we were eating at and we had a really really good meal with chicken something, fried noodles, rice, cucumber salad and some other stuff. I was completely stuffed by the time I was done so Caitlyn and I walked around for a bit waiting for the buses to leave and saw THE BIGGEST SPIDER EVER. It was huge. Black with green and it was so so so big. Caitlyn took a picture but didn’t put it up, the real thing was probably way more impressive.
The bus ride back was alright, took less time because of traffic (only 2 hours) we got back pretty tired even though we had slept most of the way and we went out to find some food. This time when we got food at a restaurant I ordered some chicken but wasn’t really that sure what it was so when it came, just fried chicken I was like “oh this will be fine” I took a bite and it was just fat cartilage grossness so I spit it out thinking it was bone then took another piece that was exactly the same, then another until I realized I had ordered FRIED chicken FAT. It was funny, so once I knew that it was supposed to be like that I ate most of it, there were also fried peanuts that were interesting but some of the pieces weren’t that bad, it was when the fat was hard that it was kind of gross.
On the way back to the hotel Alex suggested a short cut down some side road that we thought went through so we ducked in to a dark alley, and it didn’t go through it turned so we just kept following it as Caitlyn said, “when we die this is going to be one of those things when people read about it and say, ‘Why would they go down the dark side street in the first place??’” Don’t worry I didn’t die and nothing bad happened, it was just small houses with people running around celebrating their communism, we saw a table of 4 old guys gambling and a lot of cooking outside and talking, almost everyone was by a TV watching the celebrations in Tian’amen square pan out so that was pretty cool and then when we emerged on the other side I knew where we were! That was cool because I lead us straight to the hotel and I felt special. Then we went to sleep.
Still 2 more days left!