Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Beijing Blog 3

Can’t leave China without doing the wall. Every guide book advises doing it via an organized tour. The conference has fixed one up for a fee. Which is all very convenient, except that I have a great loathing of organized tours. I’d rather not see the place than have a guy with a raised umbrella mechanically rattle off data and then shovel me back into a bus so he can take me to a jade factory.

Thankfully some research tells me there is a fast train to the Badaling wall. I get to Beijing North railway station and manage to buy a ticket even though the first clerk assures me there is no such train. Spotless platform, convenient though crowded train. Should have got the first class ticket. Anyway, friendly Beijingers make a bit of space for me, and I’m ok. Coming into Badaling, I count 200 tour buses, and that’s only what is visible to me. There is a public section to the wall, and there is a section reserved for officials and VIPs. I muse on the fact that with all the talk of power to the people, only a tiny political elite get all the jam. What’s better - Ration by willingness to pay or by political muscle? Either way, the common man is screwed. I do the obligatory walk up the wall to a few turrets and then return. First class on return and it is all very comfy and swishy.

The sun finally breaks through the sky. A kid wants to take his picture with me, and I oblige. I want to tell him that I am from a place where the people only slightly less numerous than they are, and so he would be impressing nobody. But perhaps he just wants a picture with a dunce who keeps leaving more money than asked for in the bill.

1 comment:

Sumita said...

enjoying your China travelogue..

Planning to go soon and soaking in the narration and the veg food recommendations!!!