04 Jun Beijing, China
The highlight for my stop in Beijing was hands down seeing, climbing and conquering the Great Wall of China. What I felt can be encapsulated into 1 photo:
At the bottom of the Beijing Badaling section of the Great Wall, standing with the tour group of 20 I was with, I overheard those who just touched the top saying things like ” it was one of the toughest climbs I’ve done”, “it’s not as bad as I expected” to “$h!t I’m tired!” and I couldn’t WAIT for my turn. The Great Wall-conquerors before me offered up advice about take my time, stopping if neccessary and drinking lots of water, all which I eventually took heed to. Amped and ready to go, the subgroup of 3 friends started our ascent. [singlepic id=120 w=320 h=240 float=center]
We shared each step with young, elderly, families, adventure seekers and those looking to quill their fears – each on their own personal quest to see the view that so many others spoke of before them. My mission? To take in the incredible 360° view with my own eyes and then proceed to form the perfect karate pose at the top of the “China Wall” ( a Great Wall nomenclature conjured up by one of the members I was on the tour with).
The beginning of the climb was a breeze as I was high off of natural adrenaline. Mid to late climb when the legs started burning, breath got shorter and breaks were longer is where the real test began. I used said pit stops as an opportunity to take a few photo ops, chat it up with other wall trekkers and just take in the moment.
As the steps got steeper, and asthma reared it’s head, the crew of 3 dwindled down to 2. Undeterred and focused, I continued on, determined to finish what I started, for myself and for Johnny.
After what seemed like forever (it was actually just over an hour including the breaks and impromptu photoshoots) the last set of steps where in my sight. Those last few steps provided me with renewed energy I needed to finish and as I surged to the top, it dawned on me that what I came to do – I did and there was no greater feeling. At the top, the views are truly magical. So much so that I neglected to take my “karate kid” photo ( I took it later on during my decent once I remembered) , but that was nominal compared to what I experienced. All I kept thinking was that I, Kelly Pierre-Louis, was a Haitian-American woman from a small city in CT, sitting at the peak of the Great Wall of China. That moment will stay with me for a lifetime and being able to share that moment with a group of diverse folks who undoubtedly shared the same sentiment was definitely a profound moment for me.
“Very happy people”
“Great Wall Certified”
“Before the trek up the yonder”
“An attempt to Karate Kid the Wall”
“It’s always good day when I spot a pair of LA Gears”