- “Elisabeth, we´re going to the Great Wall of China tomorrow.”
- “I know what you´re thinking, we´ve been on a train for twenty-one hours, we only have two days to spend in Beijing. You´d prefer to see the mysteries of the forbidden city, wander the chaos of the Silk Market, go to galleries, eat duck, drink wine, people-watch. But its The Great Wall!!People say it is the only man-made object you can see from the moon, and to be honest, the chances of ever getting to see it from there are pretty darn small, so we might as well go and have a look tomorrow.”
At 7 a.m. we were both on the direct bus to the Great Wall, and at 7.10 we had already drifted off. It only takes a few minutes for me to leap into my unconscious state, but to reverse the process I need at least an hour of silence and two cups of coffee. That was not what I got. I woke groggy and confused to an old lady pinching my arm with one hand and pointing towards the door with her other, which also seemed to contain all of our belongings. Before we knew it we were standing on the curb watching the bus drive away. The grim world we had been relegated to consisted of nothing more than a petrol station. As I tried to adapt to my new surroundings, a mini-van came screeching out of the smog. It stopped next to us and a man came out. -Nǐ hǎo, he said, and there it happened again. More arm pinching occurred and like magic my bag was in his hands. As I was reaching after my handbag, the man pushed me and my friend into the back of his van, locked the doors and with no further explanation, we drove off.
It took me about ten seconds before I realised we were kidnapped. This was followed by a panic-attack. My friend, calm as usual, advised me to relax as there was nothing else to do about the situation. I duly took her advice and started to plan my own funeral. To make up for all the debt I would leave behind, this would have to be a pretty notable event. The journey was long and after an hour of scribbling down last minute messages to family and friends, flower decisions and and poem selections, I concluded that Yann Tiersen would be the most appropriate choice of music. In the same moment the car finally reached its destination. The man lifted his finger and said: “Look, Long Wall of Ten Thousand Li. - that is 500 Yuan.” In front of us we could now see the great wonder rising proud and tall. The bus we were so comfortably seated in originally was parked next to the van; all the other passengers were casually getting out, happy to have reach their destination.