Yesterday I returned from a trip to the “countryside” of Miyun county, about an hour outside of Beijing. I have to say, having spent five years in Kunming, I didn’t have high expectations for the countryside outside of Beijing, which I imagined would still be flat, brimming with buildings, and relatively polluted. However, I was pleasantly surprised that Miyun turned out to be none of those things. It was actually quite stunning.
We went out to the Miyun reservoir, which supplies water for all of Beijing, on the first day. Unfortunately the thing was closed to visitors now, which, is, upon further reflection, not such a bad thing. Since I wouldn’t really want people hiking around my drinking water either. But the reservoir is quite stunning and it would have been fun to see it up close anyhow.
The next day we headed up to a place called “The Immortals Valley,” which was a great, full of streams and waterfalls and high peaks. Wang Yao and I took Dylan hiking and quickly realized we should have made a day of it, as the valley was way too long for us to finish doing in a day. Towards the end Dylan started to get hot and sleepy so we headed back. Perhaps one day we’ll return when we have a a babysitter and do the rest of the hike ourselves.
Finally, on the third day, we decided to go visit the ruins of the Great Wall at Yunmengshan. Neither Wang Yao nor myself had ever visited the great wall before, and this was a great place to start. The wall was crumbling and barely there in some places, a far cry from the pictures you usually see. There were very few people out and we were alone for the better part of the hike. We hiked about a kilometer up and made it to two guard towers. The view was fantastic and it was quite a feeling being so close to something that was such a huge part of Chinese history, in it’s raw form.
This trip was also the first time we’d taken Dylan properly traveling. While we’d taken trips with him before, it was always to the village, visiting relatives. And of course, we moved him from Kunming to Beijing in April, but until now we’d never taken a real trip with him. He was well behaved and enjoyed himself the whole time, and charmed the socks off of everyone we met! At one point I had to step in and interfere with well meaning restaurant patrons who were just passing him around. Someone remarked how easy he would be to kidnap, what with his sunny disposition and his absolute love of people, any people! This made me realize we’re going to have to start keeping a closer eye on this guy as he gets more mobile. Still, our trip with the baby was a big success. He smiled more over the weekend than I’d noticed him smiling since we’d come to Beijing, and that’s saying a lot, as he’s quite the smiley kid.