Today was a big day 🙂
For some reason the local TV had picked up the news about the walk and wanted to do an interview. In China it is good to have a slogan, big signs of what is happening and a speech to make for a good send off. Shirley is a woman that works with tourism in Jiayuguan, and she has been very helpful with guiding me through the interview experience. Thanks Shirley!!
About half past nine in the morning, two representatives for the Jiayuguan Fortress, Shirley, three people from the local TVand I set off for the first beacon tower of the Ming Dynasty Great Wall. It lies about 7 km (4,5 miles) south-south west of the Jiayuguan Fortress.
There, we took out the posters and I held a little speech in Chinese about the walk and explained that I am doing it for cancer research. Then we took (a lot) of pictures in front of the banner and I was given a book with a greeting from Jiayuguan Fortress and also a letter of recommendation for the walk. I then gave the two representatives and Shirley a gift. After that I did a mock walk along The Wall which was filmed. In the end, I was sent off on a gondola’ish chute across a big river bed. As I weigh 70 kg and the rucksack about 15, the 90 kg’s were a lot more than the chute was calibrated for, so I ended up banging into the other side. Luckily they had a mattress there that took some of the blow. Then my hosts went back to work.
I walked back to the beacon tower and looked around for a suitable stone. This is a tradition of mine. When I do long walks or kayak trips, I pick up a stone at each end of the journey. It is really good memento 🙂
The walk was nice. Flat terrain through a very dry landscape. So dry that dead shrubs were dancing around in the wind. At one point I was half expecting John Wayne to show up and ask “What ya doing out here Son?”. And I would reply: “What are YOU doing out here!? Aren’t you dead?”.
I tried to take pictures of myself walking today, which turned out to be a slight change as there are only two options: Put the camera on The Wall to get a good picture of me, but not The Wall. Or place the camera on the ground and get a good picture of The Wall, but from the surface pointing up. I tried both…
After only a couple of hours the walk was over and I turned up at Jiayuguan Fortress. The end point of today and starting point for tomorrow.
That’s when I noticed that the sun is incredibly strong here although it is only the beginning of April. Jiayuguan is about 1.600 metres over the sea, so I’m glad I put sun cream on arms and ears. But not the face… 🙂
I got back to the hotel pretty early and then went out to try to get the mobile to work on internet. I went to a large China Mobile sales outlet and they were really helpful in trying to understand my problem, and solve it. After two hours (!) we were still not finished, but they said they would investigate further and that I should come back tomorrow. We spent quite a lot of time in front of the computer writing back and forth from English to Chinese on Google Translate. One of the wonders of the world.
I will update this post with pictures tomorrow. The category “Short daily report” will be used when I get on the track. As I have a good internet connection at the hotel, this was a long report. Time to go to bed now.