Just north of Beijing is the Great Wall, and if you want to camp out, I kinda recommend this sketchy outfit. My friend Cliff from Google is about to head over there. So, if I recommended it to a friend, I recommend it to you too.
I found this place on my own and then took my friends Curtis and Tane on this very strange adventure. Here’s the short version.
But it’s all super-sketch. I should have gotten a clue from that terrible website. They offer like 30 different options, all heavily worded and confusing. Basically, I think it’s this one guy that does everything. He’s nice enough, but he’s kinda goofy and you have trouble understanding anything he says. He’s actually really really goofy and his way of speaking English was quite hilarious and kept us laughing. I’m not being mean… he just had a crazy way of speaking. It’s hard to explain but God we thought it was funny.
Even more sketchy is when we were about to go up on the Great Wall to prepare for a camp out. We were down at his “farm” that he kept talking about all day. He was like, “My farm this” and “My farm that”… The farm was basically about the size of a picnic blanket and was growing nuts or something. He kept trying to give us nuts but we didn’t want any.
All around this mini-farm were piles of bricks, rubble, and dirt, but this is very common all over China. There’s an amazing number of rubble-piles everywhere. Now I wish I had taken a photo or two, but it wasn’t very photogenic so it didn’t cross my mind.
It was getting close to sunset and we wanted to go up on the wall to take photos. Our guide really wanted us to come into his place to take a shower. We told him that we didn’t want to take a shower. But he was begging us to take a shower, which we thought was very strange.
We finally insisted that we need to get up there stat because the sun was about to set. He finally admitted he was trying to delay until the ticket office was closed because what we were doing was illegal. And this was after spending the whole day with them. He finally said, “If the military or police come by, just ignore them because they won’t speak English anyway.” I can’t say this was very good advice, but we went for it anyway. It was still worth it in the end, although it did cause a mild amount of anxiety that I didn’t need.
Daily Photo – Abstract or Quad Shot?
It's kinda hard to guess, except for the fact that you'll notice a lot of blue around the outside. This is the famous “Bird's Nest” in Beijing. I was really impressed when I got close to it. I remember when it was originally built, a lot of people thought it was ugly, but I've seen this reaction to a lot of innovative architecture. It's a matter of taste, of course… but I personally love the building. It's even better at night! If you go to Beijing, I recommend visiting this whole area of Olympic Park around sunset… there's lot of activity. Over my three hours there, I never even saw another white (or Western) person at all. I guess Beijing is not anywhere near the top of people's must-visit locations… which is too bad because there's some cool stuff there.