Jared Ning


china chronicles: great wall episode


woke up early and was told that we were going to the great wall of china, just the three of us, me and my host parents.  host dad says he’s going with us but he’s not going to climb the wall.  i figured he just didn’t want to do all the walking.  so we drive for more than two hours just to get there.  buy the tickets for me and my host mom and start up a hill.  alright, it’s just a little incline, not too bad.  a few steps later, i start dying.

stairs.  hey, i’m at the great of wall of china.  i can make it up some steps.   oh, more steps eh?  alright.  no problem, just a little further.  more?  i have to slow down so i can catch my breath and my thighs can recover from the strain.  you can do it.  start climbing again, thighs start hurting again.   have to stop.  kids start running past me.  my host mom decides to show off and skip steps.  i’m hoping that at the top is heaven, cause i’m about to die here.  they should call it the great staircase.  every once in a while there’s a vendor selling film or water.  after about the 10th one i pass, i start asking if they sell oxygen.  i say, “lady, do you see that?  that’s a cloud.  i need oxygen right now.”  continue to kill myself slowly.  at this point i’m crawling.  old dudes with both hands behind their back walk casually past me.  the great wall was originally built to keep Huns from crossing into their territory.  if i were a Hun, i’d give up too.

finally make it to the top of the mountain (even the signs say mountain). so this is the great wall eh?  i’d been before, but at a different place that wasn’t as pretty.  hear a lamb.  look around, nobody seemed to notice.  hear it again.  am i the only one that can hear this?  it starts smelling like a zoo.   look down and see two lambs.  that was all there was at the top.

the way down was the best part.  you can either walk down (or roll down in my case), take the cable car, or slide down.  that’s right, slide down.  you sit on these scooter thingies (toboggins, they call them).  push forward on the handle to go faster and pull back to apply brake.  it’s just a slide.  it was fun.  in front of me and my host mom were these four american girls.  the third one was kinda scared so she went kinda slow and held some of us up.  but i had chances to go fast.  when we were going slow i started conversing with the girl in front of me.  ”so, where you from?”  along the slide there are workers there to make sure you’re ok and tell you to go faster or slower.  i asked one of the guys that had a total of three teeth what he was doing for the summer.  he didn’t answer.

naturally, at the great wall of china, you’re bound to see some foreigners.  this was the first time i had seen people with non-black hair in a long time.   some americans too.  american kids.  i didn’t talk to them, but it was nice to see some american kids.  miss you guys.  see you soon.