This is my diary for Saturday 10th November 2001. I was on a trip to China to walk on the Great Wall, fundraising for the National Star College. I kept a diary but I never published it, so here it is, 10 years on. I’ll do this for every day there’s a diary entry. [Text written like this is commentary added by me now.]
The photos for this day are here.
Index of all relevant blog entries is here.
Saturday 10th November – fifth and final day of wall walking; Juyongguan[One thing to note: that I wrote all of this a couple of days later, rather than at the time - so it's a bit curtailed and lacking in detail compared to earlier days. In fact, I really didn't appear to have much to say about this day, sadly...]
Last walking day! Juyongguan (“Middle Pass”). Really, really touristy, especially at start, up 1600 steps. Big group shot first.
Definitely the nastiest piece of wall we’ve seen, but only because of the setting – very urban, road running right through it, hotel in middle, etc. Also too many people! Hah, we’re such snobs! Lots of locks and ribbons attached to wall on the way up…
The wall is a ring here. Can see more wall in distance from top - apparently that’s Badaling [the most popular section of wall for tourists], though I didn’t realise this at the time. Several extra temples on the way, but I missed them – boo; Becca & Emma did them though. Walk down is long and in places very steep - excellent. Julie’s knees fine now, while mine are starting to twinge a bit!
Half-way round, cross road past buildings. Slightly hard but short climb up the other side but then easy undulating going, very quiet apart from some Americans (SHUT UP!) [hahaha - standard] and background traffic.
Then, suddenly it’s over. Off the wall and back up to the crowded car park for congratulations and lunch. (At least there’s chicken!) Sad, innit? Hang around, go in shop (Cathy & Gill buying thing), photo & annoying bloke [no idea what the problem was; I forgive you, annoying bloke!], then time to go.
Now to Beijing proper, to Exhibition Centre Hotel. Beijing very busy, much construction, strange spiky things – what are they!? [Artifical fireworks - see photo below] Room 437. Shower! Meal nearby, food very good, though dead fish in tank (and live ones) [yum]. Bit of speech from Anthony (re Star Centre and trek), then awards, then silly awards (me and Louisa: Most Boring Conversation – hurrah! [ie about photography, cameras, focus length, exposure times, ISO settings, film choices, etc. etc. etc.]), then cabaret. Hugh and Bob started (The Teutonic Trekkers – German shower-cap-wearing walkers); Anita sang Summer Time; Jessie and Edith sang Sisters and some other songs; Richard sang something short but very good; Becca (not the hat) did a Pam Ayres style poem about the trek, really good, probably the best thing here; Chink In Wall sketch, very hammy! [no idea]; The Five Degrees (Neil, Sue, Jill, Chris, Trudi), but could only really hear Jill. My raindrop impression! [Hahaha. This.] Finish with Steve, Mavis, Ali, Jenny, Laura singing “Congratulations”.
Then out we go (beer w/ Hugh episode [no idea]) to bar for proper drink. Drinking til after 0200, according to Becca. Much tomfoolery!