China Archives - Trekking The Great Wall - Simatai: Part IV

Today we trekked 12km along the Gubeikou Pass. It was a mixture between the previous days adventures as it combined trekking both the wall and forested areas. My legs feel absolutely wrecked as do my poor feet. I’ve only just started to gain movement in my toes again (I’m writing this a few hours after ending the trek). My body is seriously cursing me right now.
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Anyway, today was brilliant! What an absolutely amazing view the entire way and the autumn colours were stunning. Oranges and reds mixed with green as far as the eye can see. At the very beginning whilst we were climbing up to get to the wall, I was really wondering to myself if I could complete the day. Three of the girls sadly turned back quite early due to the height issues. The majority of the wall was crumbly and narrow with no wall on either side – just sheer drops.
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When we exited the bus on arrival at the wall we were greeted by the ‘Hello People’. These are women who used to be farmers but have now became sellers instead. They choose one person each and walk with you along the wall for the entire journey. It actually sounded a little worrying and annoying but they were really nice people who just want to help as much as they can whilst making a living for themselves. Obviously everything comes with a price so they do try to sell something at the end of the trek and trust me, you feel totally obliged to buy from them! I got into a bit of trouble with mine actually because a different Hello Lady came up to me after the trek offering me gifts to buy. Since my Hello Lady had disappeared, I assumed that I had to buy from this woman instead so I took a book about the Great Wall. As soon as my Hello Lady clocked me buying from this other woman, she ran up to me shouting ‘No, no, no, I walked with you!’ I felt awful! She then started shoving chopsticks in my face at a ridiculous price and since I had previously acted out that I didn’t have much money on me, I ‘borrowed’ money from Dave to buy them. This cheered her up a bit and I figured that I owed her in some strange way.
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Here is a little snippet about my Hello Lady:  Her name was Lu and she was a 30-year-old pretty lady with chin length hair. Her English wasn'tt very good but I did understand that she has two young boys and travels four hours a day to get to work. When I say travel I mean walks. It really made me appreciate everything I have. We complain about ridiculous work conditions such as not having the right chair to be sitting at our PC for eight hours a day, when we should be lucky to have a comfortable and stable job at all.

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