China Travel Photos – Huanghuacheng Great Wall
We approached from across the river with instructions to follow the path and pay the man 5 yuan each to traverse his property. Down the uneven stone steps, across the rickety wooden bridge with missing planks, and under the sign written in Chinese characters we couldn’t read. At the end of the bridge, we went left toward the loudly barking dog.
The German Shepherd, healthy but lean, continued barking fenced under a porch next to a locked gate adorned with the flag of China. We waited as an elderly man slowly shuffled toward us. He held up five fingers, one with a dime-sized boil, and pointed. I dug two purple bills from my pocket, handing them over the gate. Satiated, he unwrapped the chain.
Up past thatched wall shelters and over more rough stones we entered his orchard. I gasped as we stepped over dozens of discarded bottles blown into the corners of the watchtower. My first glimpse of the top. The wall extended endlessly winding over steep mountainsides. A snake of sandy stone in the leafless forest. It was marvelous. Really. An actual marvel. And we had it nearly to ourselves at first, one on one with the brisk assault of the wind and a cloudless sunny sky to keep us temperate. As we progressed up, seeing maybe 15 others, I thought of the old man. He’d made maybe $10 that hour… not bad for unlocking a gate in a country where the average income is $10,000/year.
Here’s a ridiculous video you can watch if you like…. it’s our driver/guide singing a military song with a crazy fast timelapse of the hike we took through a tiny village and a man’s orchard. We had to pay him 5 yuan each for passage. Another ridiculous video of me skating on the wall can be found on Facebook, but I’m gonna have to post a link later when I can access the site on my computer.