aWalling lack of information

October 8, 2006

The Great Wall at Mutianyu We left the hotel at 6:15 AM and driver took us to Mutianyu, one of the Great Wall of China sites farther from Beijing. It is very attractive and easier to get on to the wall itself because of the chair lift. We had picked the time and place in large part to see the wall without too many people on it. We got that just right, in fact we almost had the wall to ourselves for the first hour. It was great. I enjoyed taking photos and we walked the wall for almost 3 hours marveling at its size and length. We speculated about what it must have been like to be stationed there and how long it took to build. We wondered where the stone had come from and how it had gotten there. Soyan shared a tidbit she had learned the last time she was in China about a man who had been demoted and executed for building too slowly, only to be lionized later when the discovered the quality of his work.

Of course, I don’t know how long the wall is and I don’t know how long it took to build. I have no idea how many men were stationed there, or what it was like. I have no idea where the stone came from, and I don’t know how it got here. Despite the well organized ticket sales, the ski lift and the theme park style slide down, there is not one single sign, plaque, pamphlet or other source of information about the wall itself. It was spectacular, and I am glad I went, but it many ways the whole thing seemed like “The Theme Park: The Great Wall of China”

I was even inspired to make this silly 1 minute video clip called The Great Wall of China — Thrillride Edition. Of course I have some appropriately reverent photos too.

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