The Forgotten Great Wall Of China

The Forgotten Great Wall Of China

I want to share with you a short piece from one of my favourite places to travel in western  China.

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Jiayuguan, Gansu Province – The Over-hanging Great Wall of China

 

Excerpt from my diary 26/08/12 – written from my hotel room in Jiayuguan, China:

Waking up from another dishevelled sleep, I’m in no mood to play tourist today. My dreams are consistent with the night before and I’m exhausted. My money is running out and the reality is creeping into my subconscious, taunting me in my sleep. I dream that I follow every path, yet every path I choose inevitably leads to the same outcome: Going home. Lying in bed I splurge all my fears to Becks instead of touring the outside world. So engrossed with our own company we leave the room only once, for the fresh spicy noodles from the lady across the road. Sometimes it is nice just to have slow travel days like these.

 

The Over-hanging great Wall Of China, Places to see in western China

 

But the following day, with a clearer head and a more positive mindset, we did play tourist. We were, after all, bunking close to the Overhanging Great Wall of China. With new stocks of wine in tow, the taxi dropped us as the entrance. An unexpected disneyland-style display and ticket booth greets us along with a hoard of bubbly Chinese tourists who seemed to take more interested in us than the actual Great Wall of China. While they peer at us we take our first peek of a tiny fragment of the wall, which could just be seen popping out behind the strategic placement of a large cardboard backdrop.

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We all know the Great wall of China is in fact GREAT, with a total length of 21,196 kilometres and construction dating back all the way to 200BC. The section we visited (the Over-Hanging great Wall of China) was built in the 1500’s for the sole purpose of guarding the east from the west. The spindly wall sprawls it’s way along the backbone of the unforgiving Heishan mountains and to the west, beyond the wall, is nothing. This was once the border of China and a place of exile to those unwanted by the Chinese supremacy, a decision which would lead to certain death.

 

The Over-hanging great Wall Of China, Places to see in western China

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With no time schedule or time limits, we outlast the Chinese tourists, roam the walls and climb the watch towers in peace. I will never forget opening a bottle of wine on the wall and “saluting” to the sun as it slowly set below the mountains.

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Except from my dairy 27/08/12 – written on the overhanging great wall, Jiayuguan.

We sit in isolation, watching the sun struggle to control the luminous shadows and violet hues which streak the contours of the walls we sit upon. The bulging moon has recently risen and is now settling in above the highest watch tower. The incandescent night sky is vast and clear with a small patch of wispy clouds which have distorted the scarlet rays of the setting sun. Every minute the colour tones are changing and becoming more complex, unnamable to the masses but definitive to a paint salesman I’m sure. ‘Coral bells,’ ‘enticing red’ or maybe ‘cheery’ he would call them. Either way, the colours seem to be holding us here, to latch onto the beauty and stay that little bit longer.  We clink our plastic mugs together saluting to my reoccurring dream, to the unknown and to the beauty around us. 

 

Things would work out.

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The Over-hanging great Wall Of China, Gansu Province, China, Straight On Detour
The Over-hanging Great Wall of China

 

The Over-hanging great Wall Of China, Places to see in western China
The ancient border between the east and the west.

 

 

 

 

Return our destination guide: Places to Travel in Western China

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Written by

Prue Sinclair is a twenty-eight year old Aussie who for the past seven years has been exploring the furthermost reaches of the World. Living anywhere but her homeland, she now resides somewhere in the UK where she writes about the adventures of her Ultimate British Road Trip. Her message is simple: You can get anywhere on any budget, you just need to think outside the box. You can trust she's finding her way to somewhere lesser-known and writing a 'How To' guide.

6 Comments
  • Fantastic read Prue! I was at the wall about 5 years ago and it exceeded my expectations. But this section of the wall that you’ve written about has captured my imagination. Lovely 🙂

  • Now, climbing on top of the wall and drinking wine as the sun sets (and after all the tourists have left) sounds like THE way to see/experience the Great Wall of China. Lovely writing…

    • Thank you so much Janice and George. It’s sticks out in my memory like a sore thumb – absolutely awesome! Have you got any plans to visit China in the near future?

      Kind regards,

      Prue

  • Very awesome Prue 😉 We’ve yet to visit but it seems like a truly astounding wonder, one of those places you must see before you check out of this lifetime. It must have been something to enjoy a glass of vino in that setting. As for Chinese tourists we may have more here in the Bukit of Bali….especially by Jimbaran LOL! Really neat share….thanks much and happy travels.

    Ryan

    • Thanks Ryan, the Great Wall was on my ‘list’ but really I had no idea about it other than you see it from different spots around Beijing. So when we planned this overland route (scouring the west coast of China), I was devastated I wouldn’t get to see it. To realise that the wall stretched the entire length and breadth of China and to see it crumbling beside the road with no ticket entrances or visitors centers as you catch the trains and buses was phenomenal. “Hell yeah!” to that little discovery! Haha – enjoy the onslaught of Chinese tourists, there truly are one in a kind! PS – how’s it going in Jimbaran, surfing like a pro yet? 😛

      Thanks for reading. Prue

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Hi we're Prue and Becks, travel writers and photographers who have been travelling the world together since 2012. Without taking ourselves too seriously, we divulge the lesser known, out of the way places and give you the tools to replicate it. Want to know more? Click on our pic.