The Great Wall

I love the Great Wall. The remote sections, anyway. Badaling is a joke now (so commercial, so rebuilt that almost nothing of the old wall remains), but the other parts…they still retain most of their original character. Before they built the new highway — that I zoomed along today at full speed — it used to take hours and hours of hard, dangerous driving along a two lane back-road to reach this section of the wall. Which meant that when you’d reach the wall, it was almost empty. No tourists, just local villagers. You could practically park at the base of the wall, and then walk up — without anyone around for miles.

Now? Not so much.

I went to Jin San Ling. Rough translation? Gold Mountaintop. Beautiful weather today, blue skies from here to forever. The wall was packed with people. That’s good if you have an emergency — before, you were basically on your own — but if you want some peace and quiet, forget about it. Or come in the pre-dawn hours. Which, actually, sounds like something I might do next time.