Saga Asia. A movie-like town at the foot of the Great Wall
This is what we came for, to China. The big Wall. I considered several times skipping this tourist part of China because, due to its fame, there’s a deeply rooted imaginary and I did not think that living it would change it that much. But I was wrong. We got to the Great Wall in Simatai from a small town that looked like a movie studio, the Water Town of Gubei.
We missed the first bus that would take us to the wall. After two hours of travel, on the second bus of the day, we arrived at a location that looked like a set. A rebuilt town that is often surrounded by water, but this time it was frozen. And with an air of a western movie, everything seemed abandoned, waiting for something to explode. Once again, there was not the crowd that I expected.
Most of the stores were closed, the resort was not fully booked. After walking around for a bit and finding our way to the cable car, we began to climb the Simatai wall, the section, of what was 21,196 km of wall, that’s “most dangerous” since its reconstruction has not been total, only a few retouches on its structure, so that the tourist has that feeling of how it was thousands of years ago. And it was. There is nothing that brings you back more to another era than a broken structure, beaten by time. And nothing that impresses more than the view from the watchtowers from where you see the wall as far as your eye can reach, and from where you realize that it is impossible for it to be visible from space.
We had the stage almost to ourselves. We didn’t have to push or get pushed to get privileged positions to enjoy a view of, what it felt like the whole of China. We were able to enjoy the monument without adult supervision. The freedom of space is invaluable. And always accompanying us, the pollution on the horizon, which should have bothered us but, instead, added a cinematic touch to what we were recording in our memories. A moment of privilege that forced me to feel grateful. I hadn’t breathed air so dirty that felt so cleansing.
There is something about being so high and being able to see everything. In being so high and seeing the sun retreat at your feet.
As it was getting dark they forced us to go down, although this section of the wall has lights that illuminate the trails. We went down to experience the festival for the New Year that was being celebrated in the small town. By this point I should have learned not to be surprised, but a drone show, simulating Chinese lamps, lit up the blue sky that refused to turn black. Our verbal expressions of amazement merged with those of the locals who, like us, also took the opportunity to take some photos of the lights illuminating a 2020 that already had COVID19, and at that time, things only continued to get worse because, after our two hour ride back home, in which we slept most of the time, it had been decided that the Forbidden City would be closed, and that I could no longer see it and that this happens to me for leaving everything for last.