WEEKEND, SPARKNOTES STYLE: First off: I didn’t just climb the Great Wall on Saturday —- I freaking ziplined it. Can I just say, most awesome experience ever. I went to the Simatai part, which was pretty steep1. After climbing for so long, I went on the zipline2, which is a much cooler option than just walking down or taking the 20 minute cable car. Afterwards, I went with some friends to the restaurant near campus and then to a club3 owned by Columbia alums. Turns out that there was a Columbia alumni reception in town the next afternoon, so plans for Sunday were pretty much set! I had a great time at the reception4, and after that, we went to Purple Haze5, a really nice Thai restaurant. I then went back home and after writing a half-hearted attempt of an essay on Xing Ba Ke‘s6 place in the Forbidden City, I then watched the Euro Cup final (oh, Germany, my heart). Three hours later, I went to class not knowing any of the 70 new vocab words7, and now I’m posting this blog entry for everybody to read. The end.
SATURDAY, FLICKR STYLE:8
Yeah, I definitely ziplined across that.
That is not I, but rather some random guy that happened to be on the zipline. But you get the idea.
1: No kidding. When they mean “climb” the Great Wall, they really / truly / honestly mean climb the Great Wall. There’d be tower after tower after tower … and the steps! The steps varied from giant to tiny to literally everything in between. Basically, if somebody missed a step and tripped and tumbled backwards, it would be the ultimate domino effect, considering how big our group was. And there would be these ramps, which weren’t a hassle to walk, but there weren’t any walls on the side in the chance that I happened to fall off. Considering how intimidating that wall was, that chance was pretty darn high. And it didn’t help that people nearby were talking about the daily death toll of Simatai. Haha, that was pretty comforting to hear when scaling the sans-side-support ramps.
2: The zipline is basically a trolley. Over the Great Wall. A trolley. Over the Great Wall. A TROLLEY OVER THE GREAT WALL (!!!). The wall overlooked this beautiful lake that literally looked like jade. I was harnessed onto a cable that ran above the lake, and I would glide along the cable. The view was amazing and totally worth the climb down and the 40 RMB.
3: Basically, we were looking in the Beijing guidebook, and when we saw a photo of a guy in a Columbia sweatshirt, we were pretty much compelled to go there. Funny how things work out that way.
4: I credit the amazing food (cucumber and tuna rolls, tiramisu-in-a-spoon, samosas in mango chutney, strawberry tartines, et al.), but in all honesty, I did meet some awesome people.
5: Yeah, I thought of Hendrix too.
6: Xing = Star. Star Ba Ke (when said aloud) sounds like a certain all-too-familiar coffee chain that starts with S and ends with tarbucks.
7: Oh, I kid you not. SEVENTY.
8: If I killed your feed / flist or just your browser in general with the dialup-unfriendly pictures, feel free to e-shout at me.