Each day Jo is teaching our co-guide Bob a new word. Two days ago it was "prune." Yesterday it was "caboose" (don't ask). Today it was "escalator." After 8 kilometers of seemingly never-ending stairs going up and down and up and down and up and down it was all any of us could have asked for. Thankfully, today also brought with it a small army of Inner Mongolian ladies who acted as a support crew for the duration of our walk. It was fan central for a majority of the walk as once again we were greeted with brilliant sunshine and temperatures in the low thirties.
Today's section - Jinshanling to Simatai - is, in a word, dramatic. Dramatic cliffs, dramatic steps, and dramatic views of the dramatic mountain terrain that stretches in every dramatic direction. The last bit of drama was most certainly the dramatic way with which the Chinese women bargain. It is no holds barred and you either play along or get eaten alive. I did a little coaching though everyone always starts out timid but within a few hours it is gloves off, game on!
The award for deal of the day goes to Debby, who somehow managed to secure two fans for the price of one. The "how far will you go for something" award goes to Jenny, who managed to have a panoramic photo driven in from another town. It was impressive.
We are on the bus now en route to our final section of the wall - Mutianyu. Spirits are high and Bev just grabbed my attention to say "this trip is a winner." I couldn't agree more. When you combine an important cause like Animals Asia with the motivational physical challenge of tackling the Great Wall of China you can't but create an absolutely winning formula and we haven't even seen the bears yet!
One final note. Mehri decided to conduct an anthropological study today seeing how many people she could convince that the section of the wall we had walked on actually dipped into Russia. I believe she had six in all that bought the story. For the record we did not cross into Russia. Or did we? I guess you'll have to come to find out!