Having made it to the Great Wall of China I was somewhat overwhelmed by its beauty and mystique. The drive leading up to it is wild in that cars just travel in any direction they like. There appears to be a magical “middle lane” that opens up for Taxi drivers only and it can leave you often looking at oncoming traffic straight in the eye!
As fellow MVP James McCutcheon, Microsoft Product Manager Nicholas White and I arrived we could see the wall stretch from left to right and back again. It was ominously looking down on us and almost daring us to arrive. The parking lot saw many “peddlers” and street merchants, all illegal and all playing cat and mouse with local police. Our tour guide, Ricky Lee, pointed us to the top and said I’ll meet you back here.
As we passed through the turnstile we looked up at the 60 degree angle facing us and started to take the first steps. It wasn't long before breathlessness, the cold, and burning thighs started to affect our thinking. As we rose through the mountain we peered back and felt queasy, and nocuous, about the vertical staircase we had left behind.
As we peaked at one point, another opened up. And as we crossed a land mark, it seemed that the journey was endless. Knowing that we were walking on a structure that had claimed so many lives during the Ming Dynasty, and dates as far back as 1640 in some areas, all three of us seemed touched by the history strewn beneath our feet. We all reached for our mobile phones and started dialing friends and family. First I talked with my beautiful wife (that helped me take time out to be here) and then with my son, which by huge contrast had to be called out of our swimming pool to answer the phone. He was so excited that he dragged his friend out (another five year old) and made me say hello too. “Cool, waow!” is how he put it I believe!
I proceeded to pull out the famous Hugo Ortega camera, and remote control, and started Vlogging for you guys. First I screamed, then I jeered, then I shared my breathless tale of the steep ascent on this infamous marble staircase. It seems however that in all my excitement I became a little lightheaded and distracted. As we arrived at the parking lot and made our way to the Ming Tombs I realized that my camera had been either left behind or stolen! Ouch! So now I have no video to show you. All I have is this one coincidental (yet lifeless) shot of me on the Vista enabled Q1B, on top of the Great Wall!
If you get the chance you should make your way here. It is truly special.
Blogging from the Great Wall of China