Chasing Mirages

Tag: great wall

Wall to Nowhere

by on Jun.17, 2014, under Quickies

Oh God. It’s been the longest hiatus ever.

I’m back in China for the summer, no more excuses.  Last week I visited the crumbling Great Wall near the village of Long Quan Yu (龍泉峪).  There’s an awesome B&B with cabins built on the mountainside from which we enjoyed panoramic views and stargazing through floor-to-ceiling windows.

The best part of it was, the running water came from mountain springs.  It’s the first time I’ve drunk straight from the faucet in China.  The only notable consequence was five full days of simultaneous projectile vomiting and incendiary diarrhea.  On the bright side, I lost five kilos and regained a six-pack.

Just kidding, the water was really damn good.

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Escaping toxic Beijing

by on Jun.29, 2011, under Posts

The air in Beijing was especially bad the last couple of weeks.  According to the U.S. Embassy’s air quality monitoring station, Beijing’s Air Quality Index was consistently above 200 (unhealthy to very unhealthy) for many days in a row.  I knew the air was bad because I could see it, and Beijing is too dry to be foggy 24/7!

Fortunately, I had an out.  A family friend has a place in 八达岭 (ba da ling), a town northwest of Beijing known for its touristy section of the Great Wall.  A mere hour away from central Beijing, Badaling is a great place to go for some fresh air.

Northern gate of Chadaocun

Even better, Badaling has more to offer than the commercialized, crowded, re-built section of the Great Wall for which it is best known.  My friend who lives out there showed me a quiet, beautiful old village called 岔道村 (cha dao cun) with a history of 450 years and an amazing, largely intact village wall.

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