So, if you look at the Beijing photo post it’s pretty clear that the weather at the Great Wall wasn’t ideal. Visibility was about a 5 metre radius, on the wall and on the roads leading to it. I would say for most people (my cousin and I included), that after a few hours walking through the freezing, windy and wet mist, it was enough to call it a day. So when it reached about 1pm, everybody had the same idea, let’s get out of here!
Oh wait, we’re in China, things are never that simple…
So we’re met with this scene, a huge line of cars backed up honking at each other and a crowd of hundreds freaking out… we think a fight even broke out judging by a lot of yelling and people taking photos of the centre of the crowd.
Video of the ruckus: http://s1245.photobucket.com/albums/gg587/emilygetslost/Beijing/?action=view¤t=MVI_0568.mp4
Basically, all the roads have been shut, the buses aren’t running and neither is the railway. We’re all essentially stranded at the Great Wall with hundreds of crazy people, although I also saw a few terrified faces of foreigners within the mob, which was kind of funny. A man announced that in the next few hours they were going to be running one train an hour… can you imagine trying to get a place on that first train? They weren’t even sure when that would be.
After walking walking around for about 20 minutes unsuccessfully trying to find any way to get back to Beijing, my cousin spontaneously decided to knock on the window of one of the waiting cars and ask for a lift. Amazingly, they agreed right away, insisted we give them no money, and invited us into their toasty, warm and roomy SUV. I couldn’t believe our luck! Of course we were still stuck in traffic for about an hour and a half, but the highway eventually reopened and we made our way back into Beijing in comfort! The couple was insanely generous, giving us food, recommending their favourite restaurants and telling us how to get to them and dropping us right near a subway station. The man, who was the driver, was also amazingly skilled and he is what I based my ‘advanced driver’ thing on in that last post.
So hitchhiking in China is very possible! And it makes you feel really warm and fuzzy about the human race, when the experience is positive of course! Later that night another couple went really out of their way to guide us to the relocated position of the restaurant we’d been recommended. So despite how crappy the weather was, it turned into a pretty good day, and my faith in human kind was restored etc.