The Great Wall of China in Jiayuguan

I am in Jiayuguan (pronounced Jiaooguan and spoken very fast. Just one syllable) which is a not very nice place but does mark the extreme Western point of the Great Wall. I visited what is referred to as ‘ The Overlook’ today and I was the only person there. No guides, no market place, no cars in the huge parking lot. Maybe it has something to do with the National Holiday. Fireworks started going off very early and have continued throughout the day. Boom Bang Bang echoing off the high rise apartment blocks. I made an attempt at looking it up and all I can come up with is ‘Mooncake Day’. Sounds delightful doesn’t it.

The grumpy driver picked me up and we headed out of town past smoking chimneys, blast furnaces, mills and great big horrible cooling towers until we reached the country. We parked, outside the parking lot, and the driver indicated I should get out and walk….that way, pointing. OK, fine. Off I set, past a tranquil lake with a couple of fisherfolk until I reached the remains of a fort, with a ramp ascending. I ascended. And found myself on The Great Wall of China. That has to be life defining moment. I walked, up again, sigh. Ramps, stairs, nothing to clutch hold of for support, no rail. Here are some views:

Stretching away for thousands of miles.

Stretching away for thousands of miles.

Right into the sun, but quite awe inspiring none the less.

Right into the sun, but quite awe inspiring none the less.

The Gobi in the background and one of those strange Silk Road memorials in the foreground.

The Gobi in the background and one of those strange Silk Road memorials in the foreground.

Right into the sun. This could either be an interesting effect or just terrible.

Right into the sun. This could either be an interesting effect or just terrible.

More of same. Wall. Desert.

More of same. Wall. Desert.

Not sure if I could have walked up there.

Not sure if I could have walked up there.

The position of the sun was problematical.

The position of the sun was problematical.

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8 responses to “The Great Wall of China in Jiayuguan

  1. Your entire trip seems like a life defining moment! Town of SA building sidewalks on Arroyo and The Alameda. I’m going to see Caetano Veloso at the SF Jazz Festival tonight. Be well!!

  2. A short but very atmospheric account with some superb pictures. Like Nixon said – ‘It’s a great wall!’. The upward ascent sounds a little perilous though. Speaking of which, any chance of seeing the ‘Dunes’ photos?

    • If all goes to plan by the end of the week I shall be at the other end of the Wall.
      I think I may find more people around.
      I found there was not too much to say about walking on The Wall by myself, hopefully the photos say it all.
      Thanks.

  3. Looks pretty incredible! I like the artsy pic with the sun behind, very well done. I cant believe it goes for thousands of miles (more things difficult for the Marinite/Boulder mind to comprehend) Glad to have some blogs to catch up on here after a long weekend of good times, although a bit exhausting.. More tomorrow, bright and early. We will indeed be thinking of you on the marvelous road to and from nowhere having an experience many of us can’t fathom (but love reading about.) XX

    • I know, its hard to comprehend isn’t it, not only that but it was built over two thousand years ago.
      On the road I go again tomorrow, the fast train from Xian to Beijing.
      It is a 1200 kilometer (750 miles) journey and it will take just five hours.
      Happy to hear you had a good weekend back in the Bay.
      Keep reading. xx
      PS. Oh look. A new email address. I shall use it from here on out. Great!

  4. Wow how courageous. Love the “merry group” pic. You look great in pink. So enjoying this blog & cannot believe how beautiful the wall is.

  5. You didn’t meet a man selling carved walnuts? We did. He was the only other person on the wall. A basket of walnuts with the shells all carved into pretty pictures etc. Then he reached into his pocket and brought out some very erotic carved walnuts. Stay safe. x

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