2005年09月20日

Great Wall at Badaling 八達嶺


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Late August 2005, on my first visit to Beijing, I arrived late in the evening. It was hot and humid like in Tokyo. The arrival lobby in the airport was crowded, but fortunately I hadn't much difficulty catching a taxi to go downtown.
The first day, I visited Gugong, commonly known as "the Forbidden City" abroad, and some other popular sightseeing spots with Ms. Jiang I engaged as a guide through an acquaintance. Touring around the downtown areas, I was most impressed by the overwhelming presence of Gugong, once the home palace of emperors who ruled the country for centuries. The site, located in the middle of the city, covers an area of 720 thousand square meters, creating something mystic in the atmosphere. When I stepped into the courtyard, I felt as if I slipped back in time centuries ago.
The second day, I chartered a taxi for a one-day tour of Badaling Great Wall and a few other distant spots. Ms. Jiang, though busy working as a computer engineer in Beijing, helped again by acting as guide and interpreter for me. It was still seven o’clock in the morning, but we started soon to avoid possible traffic congestion. The chartering fare was 550 Renminbi, or about 60 US dollars.
The taxi driver was a middle-aged, good man. He said that he used to work as a driver for the Japanese embassy in Beijing. Ms. Jiang enjoyed chatting with him, and sometimes translated points of their talks into English for me.
After about one hour's drive, we arrived at the gate of Badaling Great Wall, which is about 80 kilometers away from Beijing. It was still before nine o’clock in the morning, but the parking areas were full of cars and buses. The wall structures, standing along the ridges of the steep mountains, were visible from the foot. We headed to the ropeway station.
The Great Wall was huge, silent, and beautiful. I wish the pictures posted in this article could tell all what I saw there.

"The Forbidden City"

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