Well, quite a day today! Up a little late again, rushed breakfast and headed to Huoying to meet YX. It was her (Gregorian) birthday today, which is why I was particularly glad that she was able to take the day off to go to the Great Wall. Yes, we have both been before, but not to Badaling, and not together as we had hoped last year because she was unwell.

I was getting somewhat worried on the way due to phone problems and not being able to connect to the internet. But thankfully, something I did finally seemed to sort it out. How dependent I am on the internet here, and especially WeChat, for keeping in touch with everyone!

Arriving at the station and finding YX, she had already bought the tickets and was queuing. Probably the longest queue for a train I have seen, in the full midday heat of the sun. The trains were delayed, and meanwhile we were being acosted by people trying to sell lifts in cars to Badaling. After much debate with several of them, negotiating prices and so on, for various reasons we decided to wait in the queue. An hour later we were inside – still waiting for the next train. At least we were seated and in a cool building. Another hour and finally we were going onto the train, and even managed to find some seats, unlike many others. The train moved off…yay! But it wasn’t long before we realised how slowly it was going. A doughnut and a sandwich later and finally we both fell asleep for a while.

Just before 3pm the train finally arrived in Badaling! I think at this point we both realised that perhaps taking a car might have been the better option, but never mind – we were here! The traffic on the road outside the station was stopped by the police in both directions as the crowd of passengers bundled out of the station and across the road, spreading out as we travelled at different speeds towards the entrance to the wall. Some stops for photos – failing to get one of us together because, for some still unknown reason, whenever the lady that YX had asked to take the photo of us pressed the buttong on her phone, it didn’t take, but whenever YX showed her how to do it, it worked – then a couple of short queues for my ticket and to enter, and we were on the wall!

We headed up the north part, and eventually arrived at tower 8, the highest point on this part of the wall. The photos speak for themselves.

We have both been to the wall, but today we both proved that we are really 好汉。

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