If you should find yourself in Beijing for any reason and for any length of time, and you don’t go visit the Great Wall of China, you’re a jerk.
Most people can take a very quick car ride from any hotel in Beijing to visit the Great Wall of China. Of course, I couldn’t just go to the closest section of the great wall; I had to go way in to the countryside. I’m talkin’ “Great Leap Forward” inland to visit a remote part of the wall. I figured we’d take a highway and be there in no time at all.
We hired a driver through the hotel. He was an older man and did not speak a word of English. He looked very confused when the hotel concierge tried to explain to him why we needed to drive so far to visit the wall. It’s pretty much everywhere.
Off we went. Within 30 minutes we realized that there would be no highway. But since most people in Beijing ride bikes or take public transportation, we just zoomed past everyone, even cabbage trucks.
MY FAKE FACTS: There is enough cabbage grown in China to wrap around the earth 11 times.
It might have been nice to have some music playing for the long drive, like Chinese Opera. That would have made this post a million times funnier! Instead, our driver treated us to an endless serenade of horn honking. The Maestro, as he soon became known to us, could not stop pumping the horn. At no point during the 180-minute round trip was there ever even a close call warranting a honk. I’m wondering now that he might have just had some sort of odd tick, or Chinese OCD.
I wish I could say it was annoying, but in fact, it was rather soothing. It wasn’t an angry honking. It was more like, “Ni hao. Heads up. I’m here,” as if he just wanted to be heard. He just needed to be noticed amongst his 1.2 billion comrades.
Please join us on a minute portion of our car ride to and from the Great Wall.