Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Great Wall Of China

"He who has not climbed the Great Wall is not a true man" Mao Zedong

Well it's official......I am now a true man....for I have climbed the Great Wall Of China, and what an experience!!!!!




The building of sections of the great wall started way back in the 7th century BC, built by individual states to protect their borders from other would be invading peoples, it wasn't until the first emperor of China, Qin (pronounced chin, and where China got it's name) Shi Huang decided to combine all the walls in 221 BC in an effort to keep out invading Xiongnu from the north. His General Meng Tian used a labour force of three hundread thousand soldiers, as well as criminals, civil servants and conscripts to combine the individual walls and to build additional.

The wall is now around 8,800 km long. Built between the 7th century BC and the 16th century AD, it required a workforce of millions and at it's peak during the Ming Dynasty was guarded by a million soldiers.

Our tour group was taken to the Badaling portion of the wall, just north of Beijing, Bada means giving access to every direction, it was apparently a very strategic point in the wall. First constructed in 1505 by the Ming Dynasty, it is 7.8 meters high and is wide enough for 10 people to walk along abreast or 5 horses or 5 people with umbrellas as it was raining as we were touring.

Try to sneak through the small guard house openings with a bunch of other people with umbrellas, actually had my umbrella ripped from my hand by a couple people's umbrellas as they were squeezing by me, so here I was holding a camcorder in one hand a camera wrapped around my neck, a telephoto lens in my side pocket chasing down my umbrella.... I don't even like or use umbrellas, but had to keep the rain off my lens somehow, hard to keep track of everything and still take pictures of the momentous occasion.


I would stop every once in a while to touch and smell the wall and look through the tiny peepholes and imagined how it would have been back then fending off invading forces. The majesty and immenseness of the wall, what a feat of engineering to build such a landmark, the loss of life just in building the wall reaching into the millions, many were buried in the wall itself.



It finally stopped raining and left cool atmospheric clouds cutting across the distant wall and landscape, very cool effect. You notice how the wall seems to wind across the hills forever like a dragon. Dragons mean a lot to the Chinese people. A Dragon is a power of good. They fend off evil spirits, bring prosperity, good fortune and symbolise greatness, goodness and many blessings.


One thing you notice real fast is you do a lot of climbing, to get to the top of the section we were on takes a little under an hour, good thing it was cooler then it would have been if not for the rain, you get a real work out, but looking down from the top is an experience you will never forget. One thing I did is take a video of a walkthrough of the Great wall, just to give you an idea of the sights and sounds I experienced that day

Time went by way too fast before you knew it we were down and done and heading off to our next adventure on the tour, but all good things must come to an end, as did the military usefulness of the wall, it had it's time but the high cost of manning and maintaining it became too much, along with internal power struggles. A border General unhappy with his superiors let in the Manchus in 1644 to invade Beijing, overthrow the short lived Shun Dynasty and starting the Qing Dynasty.

59 comments:

VetTech said...

This is one of the places on my list of things things to see before I die.

betchai said...

wow, i have never been here yet, but it is in my list of places to see, hopefully, within the next 5 years i can make it there. i'd love to climb the Great Wall of China too, and you have wonderful pictures.

Moonshadow said...

Loved your pictures and video. Thank you so much for sharing them with us. I would love to visit foreign countries to see historical sights but my husband isn't keen on traveling outside the mainland US borders.

Stephanie B said...

The Great Wall of China is the only manmade-feature discernable to crews on the ISS and Shuttle. Bit of trivia for you.

Workplace On the Web said...

My husband and I would like to visit China in the future and will definitely go and climb the Great Wall.

Marly

Bob Johnson said...

Hi VetTeck, it was on my list as well, can check it off now.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks betchai, you'll love the sites there so rich in culture.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Moonshadow, I wasn't too keen on leaving the country either, but I bit the bullet got my passport and threw all caution to the wind, so happy I did, next major trip is going to be to Oregon for the 2017 Total Eclipse of the Sun,lol.

Bob Johnson said...

Hi Stephanie, some of the Apollo astronauts saw it as well.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Hi Workplace On The Web, take lots of pics, you'll want to re visit them often, quite the experience.\m/\m/

Mike said...

Hey Bob,
Thanks for sharing about your adventures on the Great Wall of China. Very impressive and nice photo tour.

Max Coutinho said...

Hi Bob :D!

I am back!! And it is great to be here :D!

So, how did your legs feel after doing so much climbing?

Dragons are very important across Asia, and very symbolic as well.

Did you capture the eclipse? I heard it was a bit disappointing (depending on where one was)...

There has always been an unhappy general somewhere - and unhappy officials can be dangerous to a nations' national security *nodding*.

So, I read below that you made it through CNN! Congrats, man :D!

Loved the video, it is a pity it has no sound though...but it offered a pretty good idea of how it went ;).

Bob, (even though I am a bit late) welcome back!!!

Cheers

Ivanhoe said...

And it's visible from the space! Amazing, Bob. One day I'll get there, too :o)

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Mike, it was quite the adventure, lots of photo ops.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Hi Max , good to see you back and I hope you had a good time away, yes Dragons to the Chinese culture were important. We got a huge workout and burned off a lot of calories but put them back on with all the food we ate,lol.

The eclipse was very cool, wasn't completely shut out got the partial and the 5 minutes of darkness.CNN was a blast, just got to my hotel one one night and an email was waiting for me asking for an interview, very cool, never know who's reading your blog,lol.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Hi Ivanhoe, got a cool picture of the wall from the plane which I will post with my other plane pictures later.\m/\m/

Max Coutinho said...

Hey Bob,

Thanks, mate! I had one week to rest and the 3 weeks to devote to family *nodding* (and my family is huge).

I am so glad you had fun and ate a lot lol lol.

Wait a minute: were you the one that spoke to the cameras on the day of the eclipse? Because I saw that interview...

Yep, we never know who is reading our blog :)!

Cheers

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, ate way too much, yeah I was on Beijing TV as well, and got my name mentioned live on CNN. Good to hear you had a good time away.\m/\m/

Jean Levert Hood said...

What an awesome trip it must have been! Thank you for sharing all of the great photos!!

Will said...

Wow! What great shots of the Wall in the clouds. The contrast between those and some of the video that shows the visitors is quite abrupt. Was that you talking once in a while in the video?

Here is a page that discusses the myths surrounding the Wall and space. http://www.snopes.com/science/greatwall.asp

Sounds like you had a great trip, Bob. Welcome home!

Roger said...

While I will strongly disagree with Mao Zedong'er you only a true man when you have gone out with my ex-wife.

Great trip Bob and awesome photos! And hey Happy Birthday to you!

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Jean, it was an awesome trip, saw lots and learned to appreciate the Chinese culture.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Will, yes that was me talking, and thanks for the link, will go there right away, very cool.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Lol Roger, I hear you, and thanks for the Happy Birthday wishes.\m/\m/

Daisy said...

Gosh, what a great experience to get to walk part of the Great Wall of China! Thanks for sharing with us.

PJ said...

what an awesome once in a lifetime adventure that you had. it will be a story to pass down through the generations.

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Daisy, it was a lot of fun.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks PJ, it was amazing and something to tell the grandchildren..when I get some,lol.\m/\m/

Anne Vis said...

Too bad it was raining ...
I heard it's your birthday today, so happy birthday, Bob!!! :-)

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

Bob, AMAZING photos and commentary. You must have had such visions running through your head as you faced the Great Wall and tackled the steps. What an experience!!! I now have two friends who have climbed the Great Wall of China. AWESOME!!!

Hugs, JJ

Swubird said...

Bob:

THis is a great post. I especially like the video on the wall. Fabulous.

As I listened to the people waling alongside of you it sounded like everyone was in high spirits. Do the Chinese people seem to be peaceful? We hear so much over here about hos miserable their lives are. But lately the more I read a different picture seems to emerge. For instance, they won't allow you to access your blog, yet they are huge users of the Internet. What was your general impression of their moral?

Happy trails.

Shinade aka Jackie said...

oh wow Bob what a dream come true!! I have always wanted to go there and many places in our Eastern hemisphere!!

I am so happy for you!! Welcome home!:-)

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Anne, it was raining then stopped, which left cool clouds behind for imaging.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks JJ, I still think of the Wall quite often, something I'll never forget.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks swubird, they are pretty happy and a nice bunch of people, I will post more about the general feeling, they accept what they have to , like blocked social networks, a lot are on the net just more localized then we are, again it is a communist state so they work with it, it is very clean over there and there are a lot of not rich people but they make the best of it with play and music to handle their stress which I will also go into.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Jackie, I am so happy to be back but also happy to have been able to go over to China, learned and saw so much, very different then over here so to speak.\m/\m/

Lynne said...

What an amazing experience! I would love to visit the Great Wall, what a great piece of world history.

Bob Johnson said...

Hi Lynn, it was an amazing experience, so glad I was able to take so many movies and images, still is fresh in my memory like it was yesterday.\m/\m/

Cashmere said...

Wow! Those are really a lot of steps and its high too.. I'll definitely climb the wall if I have the chance to go there.. :)

Bob Johnson said...

Hey Cashmere, you really should if you get the chance, quite the experience.\m/\m/

kRiZ cPEc said...

pity the weather was bad, otherwise you'd have a great view of the Wall itself. Anyway, congrats to your making it to climb that Wall. :)

Anna said...

Oh Bob that must have been good experience. Too bad you could only climb a section of it, lol. For a while I never knew that the wall was that long. Interesting fact about some being buried in the walls, and other stuff you wrote. Hopefully one day I get to go. How about sunny days, did you get any? For some reason I like the rain effect. You know looks like not only Canada is getting the wet weather. Bob again thanks for sharing your story, I am glad you went because you brought something new and great - like great wall of China, of course not that new, lol. BTW congrats for making the articles. Anna :)

Peter said...

Hi Bob! Absolutely BLOODY awesome! Thank you so much for bringing to light something that we would all like to visit.

Loved the video and I truly appreciate the immense effort (even at your own peril) you have gone to, to deliver it to us.

Is a headcam on your Christmas wishlist?

Take Care,
Peter

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks kRiZ, too bad about the rain but it did give me some cool atmospheric images of the wall with the clouds.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Anna, it was sunny lots there, except for the Eclipse day, mind you there was always a smog haze there and talk about humid and hot, wow,lol.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Peter, and lol about the head cam, what a super idea for my next adventure.\m/\m/

Marvin the Martian said...

Very cool, Bob! Lovely pictures.

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Marvin!\m/\m/

Lynda Lehmann said...

Absolutely fascinating! And here is one of the Black Holes in my education, for I know little to nothing about the wall, except that many dynasties had a hand in it.

I'll have to come back to watch the video. Can't wait to see it!

I love your new animated GIF of the partial eclipse, Bob! It has an exotic, faraway feel to it ;)

I want you to know that I received my Bobascope today, and I'm thrilled! I didn't put it together yet. For that I'll watch your video. Thank you again for your generosity!!!

Speaking of the moon, I slept in a patch of moonlight last night, but more about that, another time.

What a great thing it must have been, to see that wall that stretches so far, and so far back in human history.

Will be back to watch the video and read your next post...

Carole said...

Thankyou so much for sharing your time in China with us. fab documentation

Lynda Lehmann said...

The Wall and the walkway look just amazing--awesome in size and scope. And the view of the peaks is stunning. (Do they offer cardiac resuscitation along the way? ;)

Thanks for taking your readers to the Great Wall, Bob!

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, thanks Lynda, I was getting quite a work out for sure, don't think they have any medical people around though,lol. Glad you got your Bobascope, let me know how it works for you, got a big moon right now and then Jupiter in the South east, you'll see it's 4 bright moons as well.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Hey Carole, no problem, pleasure was all mine, this blog is letting me keep it fresh in my memory.\m/\m/

AngelBaby said...

Awesome I felt like I was there, so cool. Thank you for doing this for all of us. I really enjoyed watching this video. It looks like you had a great time there. I am so glad you got on the plane.

Love and Blessings,
AngelBaby

Great Wall Of China said...

Very informative post. Nice post. China is a magnanimous holiday. longest fortification wall worldwide in china.To know more about the climate and history visit china.The striking Badaling Great Wall in Yanqing County, Beijing, is symbolic of the haughty eminence of the olden Chinese labour. Gugong or Forbidden City was the former royal residency of 24 kings of the Ming and Ching Dynasty.Golden Water River is a must watch. Don't fail to visit Hall of Supreme Harmony.

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks AngelBaby, me too, my fear of flying has gone bye bye, good thing too, it was a hassle not wanting to go major places because of it, feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Hey thanks for dropping by Great Wall Of China, and for the added info.\m/\m/

Priyank said...

Hi Bob! Absolutely brilliant, its very thrilling to read your descriptions, being there would be many times exciting. The only man made structure visible from outer space!!

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Priyank, for sure, the wall was something else.\m/\m/