Beijing, The Great Wall of China, Day 14

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Join the masses at restored Badalang or hike up with a few handfuls of people and sleep on the Great Wall of China and watch the sunrise the next morning….hhhmmmm….that’s a tough one 😉 I’ve slept on planes, trains and automobiles in castles, caves and tree houses and just about everywhere including in a broken down bunk bed during an earthquake so why not the Great Wall of China!

It is 5,500 miles in length I’m told and possibly as long as 13,170 miles total including natural barriers.  Remember the earth’s circumference at the equator is only 24,901 miles so imagine how insanely big this thing truly is! It was built initially in 220 BC during the Qin Dynasty and of course has been added to and restored many times since then.  I found it interesting that it was the same king/emperor of China that built the terracotta warriors that started the wall. Over a million people (or probably more accurately slaves) died building the Wall and archaeologists have even uncovered remains in and under the Wall.

Dragontrip is one of only two travel agencies I’m aware of that has special permission to take you on a portion of the original unrestored Wall so you can camp there overnight. And while ghost stories over a campfire and marshmellows sounds fun, concubines and kings make for even better stories amidst such an historical place. Our bedtime story was the Cry Wolf story of all Cry Wolf stories.

King Wu – the last king of the Western Zhou Dynasty – was so in love with one of his concubines – Baosi – that he would do anything to make this girl smile as she was solemn and never did. As such, the King ordered the watch towers to be lit in an effort to make her smile. Now you must understand the purpose of the Watch Towers on the Great Wall was that when lit they would emit light from the fire at night and smoke during the day thereby notifying the other Chinese rulers to send their armies. The purpose of which was to save King Wu from danger as the emission of the smoke and light meant China was being invaded by the barbarians to the north which today would be the Mongolians. King Wu did this twice and the soldiers were dispatched twice marching for long periods of time only to find it was a joke and that their foolishness  in coming to their aid was for the sole purpose of making  Baosi smile. As luck would have it, however, the northerners did invade but when they lit the towers this time no one came to save them and the King was killed and Baosi was captured and ruthlessly and repeatedly assaulted. No one knows how she came to her end except to say at the hands of insensate brutality. Moral – don’t ever cry wolf.

That’s all for now from the Great Wall.

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