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My Great Adventure with Murphy's Law (I)
The Wall seemed to dance across the mountains of China, inviting us to keep going on our journey.
The Wall seemed to dance across the mountains of China, inviting us to keep going on our journey.

Before I knew it, we were being told to get off the bus. "Simatai, umm, Grrreaat uh Wall," a man was speaking to us in broken English, we did as we were told and stepped off the bus, only to find ourselves on the side of the highway; peculiar. Apparently we needed to find supporting transportation and began getting slammed with a slew of minibuses to take us wherever we needed to be. The only problem was, well really one of the only problems (besides us being stranded on the side of the road) was the language barrier; they didn't speak any English and unless you want to order dumplings and a draft beer, my Chinese is well, less than par. One of the men began hassling me in Chinese, he drew: M->S, on a piece of paper and wanted 180 RMB for a ride, unfortunately for him, William and I are about as cheap as it comes. A group of 6 young men were also standing at the bus stop with us, I was amazed when one guy began to open his mouth and fluent Chinese came out, and then another guy, and then another guy; they all spoke beautiful Chinese. William and I decided to tag along with them.

还没等我反应过来,我们就被示意下车了。”Simatai, umm, Grrreaat uh Wall,”一名男子操着不熟练的英语对我们说,于是我们照着他说的做了,下车却发现我们被丢在了公路上,太奇怪了!显然,我们需要找其他交通工具帮我们到达司马台。随后,我们俩被众多面包车包围,车上的司机说能带我们去。有一个问题,当然是众多问题中的一个(除了我们被困在马路上),那就是语言障碍。那些司机不会说英语。如果只是在餐馆点个饺子和生啤什么的,我的中文还凑活,但离标准水平还差远了。其中一名男子开始用中文和我不停比划,他在纸上画了:M->S,然后要价180元。不幸的是,威廉和我身上就只有那点钱了。此时,我们边上有另外六个小伙子站着,其中一个人一张嘴开始说着一口流利的中文,我感到非常惊讶,其他几个人也一个接着一个说起流利的中文。威廉和我决定和他们一同走。

We ended up getting the ride for 40RMB per person and figured this was as low as things were going with these guys. I justified things once more by saying that we were burning daylight and needed to get to the Wall A.S.A.P., we needed to catch the last bus back to Beijing or be stranded wherever the heck we were. The group of 8 piled into two cars and we were on our way.


For some reason, William, a man of a very tall stature (6'2" or 188 cm) decided to cram in this middle of what seemed to be a very small backseat, I sat on one side and Jake, one of the guys from the other group, sat on the other. We were like one crammed, hot, but excited little family. The ride was nice for a few kilometers until we hit traffic unexpectedly. A three lane road was converging into one for no obvious reason than to create a whimsical bottle neck and pushed us back at least an hour's journey. But we all had fun and talked along the way. The boys were part of a language school near the Beijing Zoo and had decided to spend the summer abroad to learn Chinese. They said that the rigorous education was great, they were learning about 70 characters per day, but really needed a break for the weekend, they were planning to make the hike from Simatai to Jinshanling and camp out on the Great Wall. I thought this was a wonderful idea, wish I had heard of it earlier, it would be on my "to-do list"; no matter.


The open road was calling us once again, and the group concluded that by 2 pm we would be on the Wall, ready to hike and enjoy the countryside. I was meanwhile happily looking out the window, watching the rolling countryside fly past my window at 60 km/hr, and the wind in my hair; it was the feeling of adventure! This is the same feeling that drew me to China in the first place, the possibility of great voyages into the unknown, experiences like no other place on Earth, the thrill of living my life; I could hardly wait to be on that Wall!


China.org.cn 何珊 译)

To be continued…

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