Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Great Wall of China -Andrea Lohf

We visited the Great Wall of China on Thursday, May 2. This is probably the most famous site we are visiting on tour, and as a result, most if not all of us were extremely excited to visit and play a concert on it. The Great Wall of 

China was built over 2,000 years ago (as early as the 7th century BC) during the Qing Dynasty. Laborers who built the wall were mainly prisoners although farmers joined in the effort later on. All in all, more than 70,000 helped to build what we now call one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Plenty of these thousands died during the construction of the wall, and instead of removing the bodies and providing a proper burial, construction continued, and the dead were encased by the wall. The Great Wall was built to protect China against Mongolia and was therefore highly important in military strategy. There were two types of towers—fighting and resting. The latter was used to relieve watchmen from their shifts while the other was used for fighting off attacks and defending the wall. The name of the portion of the wall we visited means “beautiful valley,” and given the amazing views, I can understand why!

  A view of the “beautiful valley” from one of the highest towers on the wall

                      We began our visit of the wall with a short concert. We played mostly the short, fun pieces—“Louis Armstrong Revival Selection,” “Semper Fidelus,” “Clarinet Candy,” and “Stars and Stripes Forever.” The trombone section welcomed two new additions. The band was not loaned a bari sax like we thought, so Garrett played Emily’s tenor sax, and she came back and played bass trombone next to Kamryn. Anthony also played bass trombone, but he was still seated with the tubas. I think we all had fun playing this mini concert despite the wind that threatened to take our music up with it. Brittany Louk gave a wonderful devotion, and David Wedeking conducted “Nearer My God to Thee” and “The Lord Bless You and Keep You” with great emotion.
Our epic trombone section during one of our solo spots

                      My own experience of the Great Wall can be accurately described by the following adjectives: strenuous, heartwarming, breathtaking, and memorable. The climb was very steep, and the steps were very crowded with both incoming traffic coming down from the top and traffic going up to the top. I encountered many Chinese families with small children endeavoring to reach at least the first watch tower. 

Although it was touching to see that these children were given the opportunity to visit such a beautiful world landmark, I was often stuck behind them because they could only climb at a slow pace and stopped frequently for breaks. I also saw a few people stopping to eat lunch on the steps, so I had to maneuver around them as well. I have had steep climbing adventures (The Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado, the Empire State building, and the Statue of Liberty come to mind), but I still believe that the Great Wall trumps those in difficulty. I call myself fairly athletic. I endured strenuous volleyball and track workouts in high school and still frequent the W 5 times a week. I even lived on the 3rd floor of Clinton last year. 

But this was hard! Climbing at a steady pace, I was out of breath within minutes. If it we had not been under a time constraint, I would have tried to get up as high as I could for the view, but as it was, I made it to the first tower and felt that perhaps the climb down would drain my remaining time.

                      The experience was heartwarming and breathtaking because of the amazing views from the wall and because of the wide variety of people that gathered to share those views—families, couples, friends, and our band. Some sections of the wall had chains along the side with little heart-shaped padlocks locked into the chain links. I found out that you can buy the heart-shaped padlocks at some of the souvenir shops along the wall and that if you lock it onto the wall and throw the keys away, your love will last forever. There are probably thousands of these little padlocks scattered all over the wall, so I know that even in this world of pain and suffering, love is still alive. Despite the rigor of the climb, I still made many happy memories, and I plan on sharing those memories with my friends and family back home with my pictures and with the souvenirs I purchased. I’m very glad I got to visit the Great Wall, and I will definitely remember the day for the rest of my life.

Andrea Lohf

1 comment:

  1. You guys are definitely the coolest people ever. This is so awesome! Seriously!!!! Keep bringing these updates :)

    God bless,

    Angela Zook