Home » Beijing (北京) » Third free day

9/27/2006 - I woke up early and took a taxi ($600 for the day) to take me to Simatai (司馬台) to do a day long hike on the wall. Originally I had planned to backpack one day from Jingshanling (金山玲) or even Gubeikou (鼓北口), stay at a hostel, do a bike ride the next and catch a ride back to Beijing. But when I called the hostel with which I had made a resevation over the Internet and found that the line was disconnected, I felt a little discouraged. Since it was difficult getting bike rental of bikes fit enough for the tough climbs I expect around Miyun Reservoir (密雲水庫), I eventually decided to just go do a day hike. As it turned out, this was a good plan. I got an extra day to visit Beijing proper. Also, on this third day, temperature was in the perfect 70, with a light breeze throughout the day. The terrain was steep, and I didn't always feel safe (was I really going to be robbed or worse - as a driver I had talked to earlier had warned?). However, as I'd find, all that happened was that I was just peskered by hawkish and curious sales ladies - and nothing more. How fear can become irrational at times... I eventually did a complete round trip from the furthest ends of Simatai to Jinshanling - some 8 or more miles over some very tough - but stunning - terrains.... The taxi driver and I also struck off well. We talked about everything it seemed, including even some politics. We'd find out that the hotel manager through which I had arranged the ride had taken a $200 cut on the $600 transaction. No wonder the hotel manager had urged me not to talk to taxi drivers myself. He talked about how unethical some are. If they don't rob me, some might raise the price before taking me back! The taxi driver and I were dissapointed but would also laugh this off. He said he would invite me to visit his home (where he had a wife and a kid) if I had time (I didn't). He gave me his contact info for me to call the next time I visit Beijing....

Straight up it will be....
And straight down later...
typical view off the side of the wall
I had to be very careful walking down many sections like these
Repairmen repairing the wall the old fashioned way...
Peasants hawkishly peddling merchandises. I don't mind them. In fact, I only feel sad. I could've been easily born here, and be doing the same thing (assuming I would be diligent enough). Now that I'm in the States living the high life - but perhaps in doldrums, what can I do to contribute to life, to humanity, or to my native country - how can I make best use of my time and circumstances?
Terraced rice fields
Poor Hubei province

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