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Tuesday, May 03, 2011

N. China - Day 9, Part 1 - Great Wall (Mutianyu)

"You can't have everything. Where would you put it?" - Steven Wright

***

N. China
Day 9 - 7th November - Great Wall (Mutianyu)
(Part 1)

Today I woke up early to venture to the Great Wall with Charis. While Badaling was the most popular part of the wall, we decided to go to Mutianyu, a less touristy and restored section.

I had originally intended to go to Simatai, but I kept hearing conflicting reports. Some said it was closed (for redevelopment - someone had bought the land and was building a result) and others not. Others said one could hike past.

While exiting my hostel I had a look at the Hutong it was in.

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碾子胡同 (NianZi Hutong) alley

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Especially given how dark it was there wasn't much to see.

At the bus station, while waiting for Charis I went to McDonalds.

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"Livey Forever
hi, im not here to waist your time and no this ainta
there girl i know that heart thats in your chest it ca grab your waist next thing you know youll have y you do deserve to get down ouve been working ha"

I was very puzzled by this and thought they'd hired a Japanese to write copy, but it turns out that this gibberish comes from the "lyrics" of a song called "I'm Lovin' It", as transcribed on Sogou (whose domain name is somehow sohu)

A bit more digging reveals that it's a badly transcribed Justin Timberlake song of the same name. Presumably they typed "I'm lovin' it" into a search engine (it being McDonald's slogan) and pasted the rubbish they found onto their wall.

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My policy when travelling is to, as far as possible, not eat things I can find in my own country. This was why I went to McDonald's, as its menu had the magic word: 猪 (pork).

I ordered a hot plate chicken thigh McMuffin and a REAL sausage McMuffin with egg.

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hot plate chicken thigh McMuffin

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REAL sausage McMuffin with egg (pork) wrapper, with cute pig on it

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REAL sausage McMuffin with egg (pork)
This was much nicer than a 饼 (bing) and anyway the Muffin was a sort of 饼 anyway.

I was in glee and this guy walked past and gave me a strange look. He was probably wondering which destitute province I had come from, it being my first time seeing McDonalds.

The taste was pure and it occured to me that the probably reason why I dislike McDonald's breakfast in Singapore is that the shit faux pork taste in the chicken patty.

Interestingly at the bus station one tout tried to get me to go to Jinshanling and hike. I was surprised, as usually the Chinese don't like to hike.

We took the bus in the direction of Huairou, from which we would take other transport. There was a Singaporean in front of us on the bus who had worked in Beijing for 4 years, and he said he was going there for the third time. The first two times he had turned left, but this time he would go right.

He also said NEVER to let the PRCs know you were foreign, or they would swindle you, and that he told them he was from Fujian.

He said we should get off at Mingzhu and take a taxi. So we did, and he excellently bargained the 17-18km ride down with the driver to 40¥.

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Mutianyu plaque

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Mutianyu area map

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Entrance to Mutianyu wall area

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“城石夢華中”
Weird UNESCO sign for "China Stone Museum" (which is definitely not UNESCO listed - I suspected a scam)
At first I had a lot of trouble searching for the middle character. Then I realised that it should be read right to left, and Google finally coughed out results.

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Camels you can ride (?!)

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The cable car service policy tells them that they can't keep money they pick up, "unify our thought" (maybe this is a Borg reference) and provide a "homy" (homey) and grateful environment
This goes beyond linguistic issues and into cultural territory

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Mountain view from Cable Car station

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"Great Wall Shrouded in Mist"
FAIL!!! (it's wrong in Mandarin too)
On the right you can see an unrestored section

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This cabin was marked as having been sat in by Clinton.

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"The Running Cable car. Perfect Monitaring System. Advanced Equipments"
I am very reassured of my safety.

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Great Wall from Car

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"The Seventeenth Living Buddha of Tibet Mageba Took Riding Cable Car on Jan 20th 1999"

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Great Wall and a Barren Tree

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Corporate Sponsorship from Henkel in gratitude for their help for the 1989 restoration

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UNESCO plaque

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Great Wall and people

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Tour flags (?!)

This being China there were vendors on the wall. And they seemed more expensive than on Taishan.

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Mountains through a tower window

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Plaque for No 14 tower (1404)

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Inside of No 14 tower

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I don't have a smart caption for this

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Mountains through window

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A little town

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Plaque for one tower

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View off the side of the wall

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