Thursday, September 29, 2005

Jacob's field trip to the Great Wall





I have a host of great pictures, but for some reason I can't post them today. It took me a bunch of tries to get these three up. I posted them at Kodakgallery.com. If you want to see them, send me an email and I will send you over there.

This picture is Jacob with his teacher, Jacqui Cameron and his frined Michael. You can see why jacob is so excited to go to school.

I accompanied the Dulwich College Year 3 classes to the Great Wall yesterday.

In short, it was great.

I mean, think about it. These kids are 7 and taking field trips to the Great Wall. Where did you on your elementary school field trips? We took annual trips to the Fort Pitt Blockhouse, with occasional forays to the Incline. And we loved them, too, by the way.

We loaded up a few buses and headed off. We went to the Mutianyu section, same place I went last month with Tmac. It’s only about an hour 20 from here. And it’s a nice section; if you come visit, we’ll probably end up there. The area is very pretty – mountainous and country feeling. There is a fair amount of commercialization and people hawking stuff, but it is all at the bottom of the hill, far from the Wall. I guess in some sections, the schlock goes right up to the Wall. I have not seen that.

Anyhow, we trekked up the hill past all the stuff to the cable car. The kids loved that. Some were quite scared. Jacob was not, having skied often.

It’s not really worth going blow by blow… Once we were up, all the classes gathered together and the kids sketched what they saw. Then we took off by class. It is really tremendous up there. Even the kids who have lived here a long time and been there a million times were wowed and having a blast. The wall close to the cable car is pretty smooth and well maintained. And it stays that way going down to the right, which is what I did with Adidas and Tmac. Apparently, if you walk about an hour that way, you come to an alpine slide, which is a 10-15 minute ride. Maybe one day…

But we walked the other direction and it doesn’t take too long to get a little crumbly. Not enough to be unsafe for the kids, as some more remote places are, but enough to start getting a sense that you are on an ancient structure. We climbed up a watchtower, which was the only part that was a tad scary, with a couple naughty boys trying to climb up the wall when we were very high. Of course the higher you go the more you can see, even on this relatively foggy, smoggy day. And then you can get more of a sense of being on this massive structure. It is almost 5,000 km long!

We walked some more, then stopped for the kids to record their observations, writing on clipboards. Walked some more and had lunch. Then headed back.

Jacob loved it and watching him it struck me that he is ready for a camping trip. You can actually camp on some sections of the wall and I am going to get in touch with our guide friend jack Zhao and look into it. We might have to wait for spring now.