8 hour layover + the Great Wall

Hey there adventure enthusiasts and spontaneous travel gurus! (Was that too much?? Sry.)  We totally got bit by the spontaneous adventure bug while on our trip to SouthEast Asia, and it had us saying “Yes” to every adventurous opportunity! I’m talking weird food, holding tiny creatures, bathing with larger creatures, taking taxis in foreign countries with no concept of the native language… Let’s just say, Jesus was working over time to keep us safe on this trip! It was truly just one GIANT adventure!

Today, I want to tell you about our 8 hour layover in China and how we decided to spend out time. First off, we left Thailand in the middle of the night on a flight that took about 6-7 hours, and awoke in Beijing around 6 o’clock in the morning. Feelings super groggy and a little cranky, we headed towards the Customs Line to check in. As we are approaching, the Hubs casually asks what we should do for the next 8 hours while we are trapped inside of a small airport. Being the planner that I am, I immediately responded by asking for my options. He laid them out for me:

  1. Stay in the airport for 8 hours
  2. Get a day room at a local hotel to relax and catch up on sleep
  3. Take a taxi and visit the Great Wall of China

Well, with options like those, it was really a no-brainer?! As soon as we were out of customs with our new 72 hour China travel visas, we headed for the taxi line. Before we could even get to the line, we met a guy. This guy became our guide for the day. I have no memory of his name, but we can just call him our guy. He took us from the airport on a 1 hour car ride to the Great Wall, booked our tickets, helped us find hoodies (because it was freezing, and we were still dressed for the Thai beaches), and set us off on our Great Wall journey.

Yall. The Wall. It was absolutely exactly what we were hoping it would be: EPIC.

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Being the completely unprepared American tourists that we are, we show up 1 in flip flops, the other in a tee shirt. Both surviving solely on caffeine and adrenaline, but it was the Great Wall, so you know, there’s that… We ran from the bottom of the entrance as fast as we could to hop on the lift that would take us to the Wall. Once we were there, we were dedicated to covering as much Wall as possible, while taking as many pictures as possible along the way.

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Once we realized our time was finished, we raced back to meet our guy. We had very little expectations and knew that there was a possibility he had dipped out. We were late, and we just knew he had not waited for us. We were starting to panic when we almost ran right smack into our guy. Smiling, he muttered something that I’m sure was a polite “hurry up!” And that we did! We ran to the car and headed back to the airport.

We just barely made our flight and only had time to stop for some stale pizza that we ate on the way to the gate. As we boarded the plane and found our seats, we just laughed over how bizarre our day had been, and that is the story of how we found ourselves on the Great Wall of China.

– the Wife

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