The Great Wall is truly great!

Dylan Nir '13

Today started out with some difficulties and fears, but in the end, everything went very well and it was a great day. Originally, we were supposed to drive to the Great Wall, see it, and then see the Ming tombs. However, thick fog limited our view and a car accident made traffic a nightmare. But we adjusted, and we got off early at the Ming tombs’ exit and went there first. They were a sight to see, huge areas of land and piles of money laid out for men and their wives who died hundreds of years ago. We went down into the Ding tomb and saw the large, protective caskets covering the body. After resurfacing and seeing the priceless artifacts found in the tomb, we noticed the sun had risen and burned off all of the fog, and driving to the Great Wall was no problem. Before the Wall, however, we ate a traditional Chinese lunch in a jade production site, where they had miraculous jade pieces and they instructed us how to determine if jade is real. This was a fun endeavor, and was very useful for our shopping trip later that day.
The defining moment of March 15th, however, was of course the Great Wall. Trust me, the name is deserved. They had these wooden scrolls that were purchasable which say that no one is a true hero unless they have climbed the wall. At first I thought it was simply a tourist trap item, but after climbing the incredibly steep and numerous stairs to the top of the gigantic mountain, I felt I deserved my scroll. It was a huge feat, climbing all the way to the top, but it was worth it. From the top you could see for miles: a beautiful, mountain landscape lined with this immense stone wall. Although there were some students who went even further along the wall, down the other side of the mountain to the next tower, the top was definitely the prize as you could literally be the tallest thing around for miles. As difficult as it was to get up, the Great Wall ended up being one of my favorite parts of the trip, and even though I may never be able to truly describe the immensity of the Wall, I know I will never forget how unbelievably amazing it truly is.