August 10, 2009

The Dragon's Head

Our train arrived in the port city of Qinhuangdao, from whence we caught a bus to the Russian-flavoured resort town of Beidaihe. The beach was mediocre, the water dirty, the beer weak, the food terrible, and the women clothed, but apart from that it was a wonderful place. Since it was the 4th of July, we took a taxi to the local McDonalds ("Mai dang lao") and had dinner, before catching another taxi to Shanhaiguan.

After being able to successfully bargain down the admission price at the entrance, we found out we were in some kind of wax re-creation of the Great Wall instead of the actual site itself. There was also a fake Buddhist temple within the complex. A "to park" sign gave us hope that the real Great Wall lay ahead of us, but the path took us back to the parking lot. We walked further down the road and finally found the real entry point into the "Dragon's Head" section of the world's largest military structure. I stood at the edge of the Great Wall, gazing out at the ocean.


"Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering." 
- Saint Augustine -