US/China Year of Tourism

Sony Yip visits the Great Wall to celebrate US/China Year of Tourism

After 31 years since my last visit to China, I was one of 1,000 Americans at Jinshanling (a popular section of the Great Wall) to celebrate the US/China Year of Tourism 2016. Among the Americans were US travel representatives, media, school groups and corporate relations. The ceremony was celebrated with speeches by dignitaries, along with song and dance performances. This portion of the wall was closed to the public and decorated with banners and billboards with the message: ‘Welcome to the U.S. China 2016 Year in Tourism’. 

Near the end of the ceremony, I was able to sneak off on the wall ahead of the crowd. The walk on the wall included stretches of irregular steps with varying heights.  No railing, which means you must be careful of your step.  I had an opportunity to go ahead of the mass crowd with hardly any people around and experience the silence and solitude.

Further along, I encountered event staff, musicians, ladies in imperial dress to greet me along the route walk for photo opportunities. The scenery was phenomenal, with breathtaking views. An ahhhh moment at every turn.  I imagined imperial soldiers’ footsteps marching up and down the wall's interior.  The guard tower had window views facing the Mongolian region. The towers’ tight spaces gave me a sense of the limited space the guards/soldiers lived in. 

Viewing the towers reminded me of Disney’s ‘Mulan’ and how Prince Shen was going to defeat the Huns at the Great Wall.

The weather couldn't have been better. What a fabulous day! There were stretches where I saw the wall snake for miles and miles along the ridge. 

Sony Yip